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Riders in East County, South Bay continue feeling impact of MTS driver strike

By Natalie Chuck,


Amer Gorgees is a familiar face for many at the MTS Station Shop in El Cajon, where he has worked for more than six years.

From behind the checkout counter, Gorgees gets a front-row seat to the impact the ongoing bus-driver strike is having on people using public transportation.

“We hear like, from the customers. They complain and we have like, a lot of people using transportation, public transportation like students (and) workers the most," said Gorgees.

For more than one week in both the east county and the south bay, many people riding MTS buses have been impacted by delays as employees take to the picket line.

Transdev, a company MTS contracts with, is seeing employees strike in an effort to negotiate better pay and working conditions.

"A lot of people are impatient and sometimes they take off walking," said Esteban Lopez, who waited for more than four hours in Chula Vista on Friday.

On Friday morning, newly-appointed MTS Board Chair Stephen Whitburn publicly demanded Transdev find a way to get services back to normal.

"Thousands of bus riders in the south bay and east county are having difficulty getting to work, or school, or medical appointments, or other destinations because of the disruptions in bus service," said Whitburn, surrounded by drivers on strike.

Transdev and the union have been in negotiations.

Transdev issued a statement earlier in the week reading in-part:

We have been engaged in negotiations with the union in good faith, with the goal of reaching a mutually satisfactory agreement that addresses the interests of both parties. During this period, we remain dedicated to ensuring the continuity of our operations and minimizing any impact on our valued customers. We have contingency plans in place to mitigate disruptions and to provide ongoing support to our clients. We have made good faith financial concessions, including matching the union’s wage rates in their last proposal. We look forward to continuing respectful and productive discussions to find a resolution that meets the needs of our employees and aligns with the long-term sustainability of our business.
Transdev U.S.

In an update on Friday, MTS stated the East County division is running at approximately 80% of scheduled bus service, and the South Bay division at roughly 15%

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