Rochester Public Transit bus driver strike possible early as next week

RPT bus
Published: Jun. 1, 2023 at 11:57 AM CDT
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – A bus driver strike is possible for Rochester Public Transit bus drivers as soon as next week.

The City of Rochester’s contracted transit operator, Transdev U.S., and the union representing Rochester Public Transit (RPT) bus drivers, Amalgamated Transit Worker Union (ATU) Local 1005, will begin mediation on Monday, June 5 in an attempt to get the two parties to agree on a new contract in Rochester.

According to RPT, if mediation ends without an agreement between the parties, an industrial action (such as a work stoppage) by bus drivers is possible and could happen without advance notice to the City.

The earliest a walkout could happen is June 5.

ZIPS paratransit service will not be affected by the labor action. ZIPS operations is sub-contracted to a private third party and will continue, uninterrupted, providing transportation services in the event of a work stoppage by ATU drivers.

Most regular weekday routes and direct routes to park-and-rides will be suspended in the event of a strike by drivers. Late evening and weekend service will also be suspended.

The City has created a Contingency Schedule that will go into effect during a work stoppage. The temporary schedule provides limited service Monday through Friday, from about 6 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. The Contingency Schedule does not include any planned evening or weekend service.

According to the Contingency Schedule, Routes 21, 22, 23, 25 and 26, which normally operate evenings, weekends and holidays, will operate on weekdays using the current timetable, adding one early morning trip on each route.

Route 408 and Route 560X (serving the IBM and Fairgrounds Park & Ride) will also operate, but with reduced trip frequency.

RPT will suspend all other routes, including direct service to Broadway North and RCTC Park & Ride facilities.

The Contingency Schedule is subject to frequent changes. Customers are encouraged to check the RPT website for daily, for up-to-date information. Any changes to service will be posted by 5 p.m. on the day preceding those changes taking effect. Customers can also call the dispatch/customer service line at 507-328-RIDE (7433) for information.

The City of Rochester is not a party in contract negotiations, which began in fall of 2022.

The City expects the parties will work in good faith to come to an agreement that avoids impact to the many people who rely on Rochester Public Transit.