Many transit riders, especially in the East Valley, can relax knowing that they can continue to rely on Valley Metro bus service tomorrow and into the future. The bus strike is now over with a tentative agreement reached on Sunday between Valley Metro’s East Valley bus operator, First Transit, and the bus operators’ union, ATU 1433.
“A service that so many rely on will run tomorrow, connecting our residents to work, and our students to their first day of school,” said Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell. “We’re pleased that First Transit and ATU reached an agreement that unifies bus service in the East Valley.”
First Transit and ATU 1433 inked a tentative three-year agreement that defines the labor wages, benefits and work rules for the more than 500 operators who serve 57,000 daily riders in Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa and Tempe. These riders also travel into Phoenix and Scottsdale.
"We are gratified that the parties were able to come to an agreement and the buses will be rolling again," said Mesa Mayor Scott Smith.
In January 2013, Valley Metro executed a contract with First Transit to serve as the operator of bus service originating from the Tempe and Mesa bus maintenance facilities. On July 1, First Transit became responsible for the operations of 40 local, express and circulator routes primarily serving the East Valley. First Transit also supports an operations and maintenance staff of more than 700 and a bus fleet of 300.
“Earlier this year, our Board made a landmark decision to unify bus operations in Tempe and Mesa,” said Steve Banta, Valley Metro CEO. “First Transit and the Union are integral parts of our plan to more seamlessly serve our customers. I appreciate their hard work and also the support of our three mayors – Mayors Mitchell, Smith and Stanton – who compelled us to a positive conclusion.”
"I'm proud of both the leadership of ATU and First Transit for negotiating nonstop until they got to yes," Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said. "They owed it to this community and our bus passengers who keep our economy going every day."