Rochester Public Transit drivers seek deal to avoid strike

(ABC 6 News) – If you ride Rochester Public Transit, you may soon have to make alternate plans.

Drivers for RPT are at the negotiating table with their contracting company and if they can’t come to an agreement – drivers could strike. That would have a big impact on commuters.

RELATED: Potential RPT driver strike could affect service next week

The drivers for Rochester Public Transit have been working for months to get an increase in wages and better health benefits. They are hoping to reach an agreement during a mediation meeting on Monday to avoid a strike.

Rochester Public Transit workers have been negotiating with their contracting company Transdev U.S. since last fall. Workers have gone back and forth on fair pay and benefits.

Adam Buzbee is the head of the union’s local chapter, and says drivers are not only staying strong for themselves, but their passengers too.

“We’ve kept it going because we as bus drivers care about our passengers. We see them on a day to day basis, we build relationships with the people, we see them everyday. That’s the last thing we want to do.” explained Adam Buzbee, Amalgamated Transit Worker Union (ATU) Local 1005 union rep.

if the two sides cannot come to a deal soon. There will be a strike and the city of Rochester is already preparing for that to happen.

“There’s a large number of people in Rochester that depend on public transit to kind of get them where they need to go. And those transit dependent riders will be affected at this time,” explained Nick Lemmer, Communications and engagement for city of Rochester.

If there’s a strike, the number of routes would go from 30 to just 6.

Lemmer and his team are working to get the word out that people who rely on public transit will need to find other options.

“So we’re hoping that most people will get the word by next week that their service may be impacted,” Lemmer said.

Buzbee says the drivers do not want to leave their passengers stranded but the drivers need to fight for a livable wage so fewer drivers walk away from Rochester Public Transit for better pay elsewhere.

“It’s time for the bus drivers to receive a living wage to support our families,”

ABC 6 News did reach out to Transdev U.S. but did not receive comment back from them on the negotiations.

One service that will also be impacted if there’s a strike, Rochester Public schools. They’re telling families and staff that if they rely on public transportation, to look for alternate options for the final week of school.