More Fairfax Connector routes disrupted as bus workers go on strike

Fairfax Connector has canceled even more routes after workers went on strike early Thursday, disrupting service for tens of thousands of bus riders in Fairfax County, Virginia.

Routes 505, 983, 981, RIBS 2 and RIBS 4 will not operate full Sunday service.

Other Fairfax Connector routes will run only on a Sunday schedule. That means only the following routes will be running: Routes 101, 109, 151, 152, 161, 162, 171, 310, 321, 322, 371, 401, 402, 463, 551, 574, 605, 630, 640, 650, 950, 981, RIBS 1, RIBS 3, and RIBS 5.

All other routes are canceled until further notice.

The strike comes in the midst of two days of the latest round of negotiations over a contract extension and a separate but related six-week long strike at Metro’s Cinder Bed Road garage in Lorton, which is ongoing.

Fairfax County’s transportation department recommends teleworking or other public transit alternatives.

Depending on your location, destination, direction and time of travel, other potential public transit options for riders include some Metrobus routes, Metrorail and Virginia Railway Express.

For residents on the edges of the county, the City of Fairfax’s CUE bus, Arlington’s ART bus, Alexandria’s DASH Bus and PRTC OmniRide or Loudoun County commuter buses may be alternatives.

Carpooling, slugging or biking may be options.

Both the Cinder Bed Road garage and Fairfax Connector are operated by the private company Transdev under contract with Metro (at Cinder Bed Road) and Fairfax County (for Fairfax Connector.)

The union describes the two sides as remaining “very far apart” on both contracts.

“We apologize for the short-term inconvenience to our riders, but if we don’t stand up to Transdev now, the long-term effects will be worse for everyone in the DMV,” ATU International President John Costa said in a statement.

The strikes are largely focused on opposition to private contracting of operations generally.

“These strikes at Fairfax Connector and Cinder Bed Road are about the future of public transportation in our region,” Costa said.

For the new Fairfax Connector strike, the union also cites what it describes as “unfair labor practices and bad faith bargaining,” including information sheets delivered by Transdev that described workers’ rights to cross a picket line.

The union has previously threatened that other bus service could be disrupted by a Fairfax Connector strike since some Connector routes are run out of garages shared with Metrobus operations.

“Transdev is extremely disappointed. … We are hopeful for productive discussions on Thursday, Dec. 5,” Transdev said in a statement. Transdev said the union did not counter offer on Wednesday.

There are more than 600 Fairfax Connector workers in the union.

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