City plan won’t help students

Buses will roll on Thursday, but it won’t benefit students.

During morning and evening rush hours, the city has contracted yellow buses to run every 10 minutes between the downtown core and parking lots at the old General Hospital and Stampede Grounds.

"We want to reach a negotiated settlement to get our employees back and restore service to our customers," said City of Calgary
Executive Officer of Land Use and Mobility Terry Montgomery. "In the meantime, this addition will
help some Calgarians impacted by the strike."

Other offers by private companies to run a limited transit service were rejected by City Council on Monday.

"We have reviewed some proposals and we thank industry for their proposals, but we will not be implementing those proposals," said City of Calgary spokesperson Vicki McGrath.

One such proposal came from President of Traxxon Canada Inc. Kenneth W. Koch.

"I offered the mayor and City Council an alternate solution and
I spoke with the head of the Union. I said ‘If your people work for me, I will meet all your demands,’" said Koch, who has not received a reply to his offer from the City or the Union. "If they don’t want to resolve it, I can’t do anything about it."

Koch already has a management team in place and hopes to make use of existing transit infrastructure despite the fact that he has not secured funding.

"Scotia MacLeod and CIBC World Markets are very interested in providing capital," he said. "[But] I’m not going to spend a lot of money until I get a lease [on transit vehicles]."

The Union is less than optimistic about plans to lease transit vehicles to private operators.

"Good luck," said Amalgamated Transit Union local 583 President Dean McKerness. "I can’t control 2,000 people and their friends and families."

Students’ Union Vice-president External Duncan Wojtaszek said the SU is neutral and wants to end the strike through arbitration.

"We have been asked by the Union [for a letter of support]. We said no, since that’s not necessarily the position of all 22,000 students here," said Wojtaszek. "The only position we’ve really taken is saying that we want both parties to go to binding arbitration."

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