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New CCTA contract details

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It's official. The Chittenden County Transportation Agency bus drivers' strike is over. Here are the details on the new contract that will have bus service up and running in the morning.

"Contract's ratified! We have no nos, no abstentions, contract is done... let's roll the buses," said Tom Buckley of the CCTA board.

They're words roughly 10,000 CCTA riders have been waiting three weeks to hear.

"I've relied on the bus my whole life," said Gary Shagnon, a CCTA bus rider.

Shagnon says the prolonged strike had a major impact on his life. So news that the buses will be rolling Friday morning was music to his ears.

"Wonderful, relieved. I feel like we would been off lockdown, so to speak. Everybody don't know what to do. Where to go. Things are piling up: doctor's appointments are backlogged, specialists, psychiatrists. I mean everything," said Shagnon.

And the drivers were celebrating at a downtown rally Thursday after approving a contract that will get them back to work.

For weeks four items kept the two parties from seeing eye to eye, but the new deal settles the differences on work rules, spread time split shifts, part-time workers and wages.

In the final contract:

  • CCTA management will be able to continue their policy that cameras on buses can be used following anonymous tips.
  • For spread time split shifts the drivers work must be limited to 12.5 hours, with a new cap preventing anyone from working longer than 13.5 hours.
  • For part-time workers, the company may be allowed to hire up to 15 part-time workers up from 13 previously.
  • And for wages, union drivers will receive a 2 percent salary increases annually with base wages starting at $42,500.

CCTA board members also approved free rides for passengers starting Friday morning through April 13.

"It's a recognition that our personages have had extra expenses during this time period and this is one small way we can help offset that," said Catherine Dimitruk of the CCTA board.

CCTA officials estimate the free service will cost about $47,000 in lost revenue, but with little to no operating costs, as buses remained parked for 18 days, the company says this move makes sense.

The Montpelier Link will require riders to get a voucher in order to ride for free. Officials say that's to prevent overcrowding on the popular route. Those vouchers will be available on the bus.

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