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Premier describes bus action as unacceptable

Hamilton bus terminal is empty after industrial action brought bus services to a halt

Buses were back on the roads last night after industrial action by staff meant the service ground to a halt.

The unannounced walkout by Department of Transportation supervisors started yesterday morning and , left many passengers stranded.

But a transport ministry spokeswoman confirmed yesterday afternoon that the DPT was “in the process of redeploying the public bus service” and services were expected to resume by 7pm.

Negotiations between DPT management and the Bermuda Public Services Union went on over the day.

But is not known if the dispute was resolved or what sparked it.

Government had to lay on extra mini-buses to provide transport for schoolchildren to get home yesterday afternoon.

David Burt, the Premier, said last night the industrial action was unacceptable and apologised to people who relied on buses.

He added: “What happened today was incredibly unfortunate. There was no warning.

“It is not acceptable in any way shape or form.”

Several bus users contacted The Royal Gazette to complain about the stoppage.

Their main concern was that the action was taken without any warning to the public.

One e-mailer, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “The unannounced industrial action by the PTB this morning is an irresponsible, selfish act.

“I support organised industrial action. However, PTB have held the country hostage for half of the day with the public not knowing why.

“This is an unlawful industrial action according to the CBA. Industrial action requires a notice period.

“There were many commuters standing at the bus stops and I picked up along the way.

“If operators and supervisors are trying to send a message to management and are feeling unheard, any sympathy to their plight is falling on deaf ears, because of how they have left the commuters hanging this morning.

“PTB – get it together.”

Janie Hollis, 65, from St. George’s, added: “My daughter had an appointment at the Hamilton clinic today and could not go because of the buses.

“It affects everyone who doesn’t own a car or bike. I can’t afford a taxi all the way from St. George and back.

“I am sick and tired of the bus situation in Bermuda. We are such a small island and can’t run a decent bus system.

“Maybe it is time for either bringing in an American or Canadian transport company.”

Boyd Vallis, 58, from Southampton, e-mailed: “Every day I wait for buses and I’m never sure if it’s coming or not to be honest – three No 7s in a row and where is the No 8?

“They must have had an idea strike was coming. The public are left at the side of the road.

“I’m not sure if the situation is normal and a bus may actually show up, or if it is an actual strike. It’s a small island and should be manageable.

“I say give all government workers a four-day week and be done with it.”

A bartender from St. George’s wrote: “I depend on public transport every day and I think it is quite deplorable how a government service could just shut down without notice or care of the public sector that needs that service in order to get to work.

“Something needs to be done.

“Because of the pandemic bars are slow as it is – I don't need to lose any more time.

“I couldn’t get into town and back home without public transport.”

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Published February 17, 2021 at 8:38 am (Updated February 17, 2021 at 8:38 am)

Premier describes bus action as unacceptable

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