‘I’m ticked off’: Northern Virginia leaders demand action as bus strikes continue

Service on Fairfax Connector buses Saturday will continue to be limited as a strike by drivers enters its third day.

The following routes will operate on a Sunday schedule: 171, 321, 322, 401, 402, 950 and RIBS 1. No other routes will operate on Saturday.

Another strike, which has been going on since Oct. 24, involves workers at a recently privatized Metrobus garage in Lorton, Virginia.

As the strikes continue to affect thousands of riders, Northern Virginia leaders are demanding action.

“You’re my friends and colleagues, but I’m ticked off,” Fairfax County Supervisor John Cook said at Thursday’s meeting of the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission. He was directing his comments at members of the commission who also sit on Metro’s board of directors.

“You have failed to do your job, which is to have the WMATA board consider, and I believe, declare, that your contractor is in breach [of contract]. My folks can’t ride the bus because you won’t do your job, and it’s not acceptable,” Cook said.

Arlington County Board Chairman Christian Dorsey, who’s also a member of the Metro board, said that it’s up to Metro’s general manager to decide whether to declare a breach of contract, not the board.

Cook said the topic of a breach of contract will come up when the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors meets Tuesday and he admonished the Metro board for not scheduling a meeting to talk about it yet.

“It is your job as board members to say, OK, our general manager hasn’t solved this problem, and to recognize that it is a huge problem, and it is creating a domino effect, and it needs to be addressed,” Cook added.

Fairfax County Supervisor Jeff McKay agreed.

“The idea that they’re not in breach and they’re able to get away with this for an extended period of time is allowing this to perpetuate into other systems,” he said. “Every other bus provider in this region that might contract transit services now has been put at risk.”

The Northern Virginia Transportation Commission approved a resolution and sent a letter to Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld calling for transit system management to take a more active role in resolving the Metrobus strike, and for an evaluation of the effect of the two-tier wage structure that exists between Metro employees and contract workers.

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