Students at Metro Vancouver’s universities are preparing for a possible transit strike to start Wednesday, as last-minute bargaining continues between the workers’ union and employer.
Unifor, which represents about 5,000 bus drivers and maintenance workers, has said drivers will walk off the job come midnightif a deal is not reached. Wages and working conditions are at the heart of the multi-week dispute.
Students, many of whom will still be expected to show up to class if the strike goes ahead, have begun to organize. All major post-secondary institutions have said classes will continue as scheduled, though some have urged instructors to go easy on students who are late or absent because of the strike.
At the University of B.C., the Alma Matter Society Nest, or student union building, will be open 24 hours a day throughout the planned three-day job action.
“The goal of this extension is to provide students with a place to stay if they are unable to make their commute to class or home,” the society said in a statement. “Security services will be on duty to patrol the building, and the safety of UBC students is the top priority.”
The building will begin to be open at expanded hours at 11 p.m. Tuesday night, and resume regular operating hours as of 7 a.m. Saturday morning. Camping and the use of tents is prohibited, but students can bring sleeping bags and blankets.
At Simon Fraser University, one student organized a charter bus to run from the Production Way-University SkyTrain Station to the Burnaby campus. Grayson Lee said it will run from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. if the strike goes ahead. The 55-seat bus will cost $3.75 each way.
For those driving to the Burnaby campus, extra free parking will be available on University Drive East.
Kwantlen Polytechnic University has increased shuttle runs between its Surrey and Richmond campuses.