Bus drivers in Fairfax Co. continue strike — how are commuters handling it?

bus stop
Drivers and mechanics picket, as Fairfax Connector commuters search for alternate routes within the county. (WTOP/Luke Lukert)
Drivers and mechanics picket, as Fairfax Connector commuters search for alternate routes within the county. (WTOP/Luke Lukert)
bus stop

It’s day 12 of the Fairfax Connector strike. Drivers and mechanics continue to picket and commuters are searching for alternate ways to get around.

Across 93 routes, the Fairfax Connector typically carried about 26,000 passengers each day.

“I know they’re probably having some problems,” one commuter at the Vienna Metro Station told WTOP Monday.

After more than a week on the picket line, most regular riders of the Connector are aware that the bus won’t come to your stop — but some are still caught off guard.

WTOP told one woman who was waiting at the stop near the Vienna station that the bus would not come because of the strike. She then left scrambling trying to find a new bus line on Metro.

“I hope that both parties can come to a resolution so we can get the Connector bus running again,” Bruce Brown, another frequent rider, said.

Meanwhile at the West Ox Road Bus facility, dozens of Fairfax Connector bus operators and mechanics picketed, hoping to get increased pay, better benefits and sick leave.

“We just want something that is fair. We’re not being outrageous, just a fair compensation,” Lennox Smith, a senior driver, said. “The company likes to keep everything for themselves. They like to eat the meat and give us the bones.”

The drivers union, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 698, has been meeting with operating company Transdev since last October, trying to hash out a deal. The strike began on Feb. 22.

On Feb. 29, striking employees were told their health insurance would be pulled the next day.

“It doesn’t put a good taste in your mouth when there’s a company out there is willing to do that to people and all we’re trying to do is get a fair deal with them. And then they turn around and do something like that,” one striking mechanic told WTOP.

Contract negotiations are expected to continue on Tuesday.

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Luke Lukert

Since joining WTOP Luke Lukert has held just about every job in the newsroom from producer to web writer and now he works as a full-time reporter. He is an avid fan of UGA football. Go Dawgs!

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