VANCOUVER – SeaBus users will be the first to feel the effects of the transit strike as more than a dozen runs have been cancelled for Friday's afternoon rush.
TransLink's spokesperson Jill Drews told CTV News Vancouver there will be 14 cancellations on Friday.
"SeaBus moved to 10 minute rush hour service in September," she said in an email. "That's essentially cancelled."
Those cancellations come as bus and SeaBus drivers in Metro Vancouver started job action after contract negotiations between their union and Coast Mountain Bus Company broke off Thursday.
Unifor, which represents the workers, said transit operators would begin the first phase of job action by not wearing uniforms and maintenance workers will refuse overtime shifts.
It's because there are no overtime shifts that the SeaBus is affected.
Gavin McGarrigle with Unifor said that's because of the requirement to have an engineer on board.
"A lot of that is run on overtime, so the minute they stop doing the overtime, that's going to have an immediate impact," McGarrigle said.
According to Mike McDaniel, president of CMBC, the weekend won't see any relief.
"It's actually going to be a bit worse on the weekend," McDaniel said, adding that approximately 30 sailings are expected be cancelled on Saturday and Sunday.
Specific details about which sailings have been cancelled are expected to be released later on Friday.
During a news conference, McDaniel urged the union to continue talks.
"The best way to stop service disruption is to get back to the table and negotiate a responsible deal," he said.
The overtime ban also means that if a bus breaks down and there are no mechanics available to fix it during their regular hours, the bus will not be fixed, which could cause delays and cancellations and have a ripple effect across the transit system.
"The longer it goes on, there will be a significant disruption," McGarrigle said.
Talks between CMBC and the union broke down at about noon on Thursday.
"Job action benefits no one," Michael McDaniel with CMBC told reporters. "We have been negotiating in good faith with the union for 29 days, we have made many reasonable offers."
The last time bus drivers were involved in a strike in Metro Vancouver was in 2001. That lasted four months.