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Vancouver Bus Rider Union Brings Back Night Bus Service

Issue: 18 Section: Canadian News Vancouver, British Columbia Topics: labour

April 6, 2004

Vancouver Bus Rider Union Brings Back Night Bus Service

Vancouver grassroots activist group Bus Riders Union (BRU) recently enjoyed success of its 18 month "Night Owl buses, end the curfew now!" campaign when the regional transit board Translink voted to reinstate the service. The all-night buses, which were pulled off the roads in 2001, will again operate seven nights a week.

Jennifer Efting, a BRU organizer, says that she was surprised of the decision, as the Translink board met all of the BRU's demands. As happy as she is with the decision, she sees more work to be done. For example, the next major campaign is against fare increases.

Efting says the buses need to be seen as a public service, and that fare increases should be seen as a user fee on the public service. She points out that the 2001 strike had a severely negative effect on the working class and have-nots. "Everybody deserves to have access to the jobs, to have access to their family and friends," she points out.

The BRU has about 280 members, and members ride the buses (with support of the drivers, Efting says) and talk to riders about the goals of the union, find out how the commuters would like to have themselves represented, and of course, try to sign people up. Efting sees it as taking the tradition of trade unionism and taking it into the community to people who are likely not aware that they may be able to have an influence on the very system that they use every day. Or in the case of the recent Night Owl victory, every night.

» Seven Oaks: Interview with Jennifer Efting

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The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.

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