Sunday bus service a possibility for 2019

Fredericton Transit will renegotiate terms of the Collective Agreement with the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) to offer Sunday bus services in 2019.

Under Article 14.08, the Collective Agreement states any scheduled runs worked on Sunday shall be paid at the rate of 2.039 times the regular hourly rate.

Darren Charters, Fredericton transit and parking services manager, said it is Fredericton transit’s intention to remove Article 14.08 from the Collective Agreement to make Sunday services financially viable for the province.

“Sunday service is something that we would like to offer and [city] council has discussed the issue in on many occasions,” Charters said.

“However, introducing Sunday service with the requirement to pay operators at double time would not be a responsible way to spend tax payers’ money on an already heavily subsidized service.”

He added the decision to offer Sunday services is up to Fredericton’s city council and this would indeed require increasing the funding to the province’s transit budget.

CUPE is New Brunswick’s largest union, representing more than 28,000 workers in the province, including 43 Fredericton transit workers operating 28 buses on nine different routes. These run Monday to Saturday from 6:15 a.m. until 11:00 p.m.

Every day hundreds of people ride the city bus to work, appointments and school. For many, buses are the only way of transport.

The lack of Sunday bus services affects student’s opportunities to mobilize to and from home.

“It is a huge inconvenience for students, because a lot of students have to work on Sundays and they don’t have the opportunities to go work because the buses are not working,” said Philippe Ferland, St. Thomas University Students’ Union vice-president administration.

“It definitely is a big problem and I think the City of Fredericton should fix it.”

To those with no alternative transportation services, it limits their access to local businesses and public services open on Sundays, such as coffee shops and restaurants downtown and the Fredericton Public Library.

“The city doesn’t do a great job cleaning the sidewalks, sometimes walking without falling is nearly impossible,” said Nahomi Lopez, a third-year communications student at STU. “I can’t go grocery shopping and weekends are a great time to do so. Sometimes Sundays are the only days when I have free time.”

In 2014, Fredericton passed significant changes to its transit service. These included the elimination of certain routes, taking buses off the street earlier at night and increasing the services during peak times. The implementation of Sunday services was not discussed then.

  • Show Comments (1)

  • Train

    It seems odd to me that Fredericton would even consider Sunday service for a severely underused public transit the other six days of the week. It will be interesting to see,if and when Sunday service becomes available, how many of the people who claim they want it will actually use it. My guess is very very few.

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