Delivered by MTS Board Chair Stephen Whitburn:
As you all know, MTS bus routes out of the South Bay and East County divisions as well as minibus and paratransit services have been running on limited service for weeks due to work stoppages. Negotiations have stalled between MTS contractor Transdev and the Teamsters.
While MTS is not part of the negotiations, we know this impasse is causing a great inconvenience to our riders that rely on these services to get to jobs, school, health appointments and so much more.
Our number one goal at MTS is to get service up and running again, and back to the standards expected by our riders.
With this in mind, the MTS Board of Directors felt it was necessary to take action to help the negotiations continue.
Today, in an effort to restore service for our riders as quickly as possible, the Board instructed staff to place on the June 15, 2023 Board of Directors open session agenda an item to consider providing up to an additional $1 million in funding for the current contract, contingent on service being restored no later than June 23, 2023. MTS hopes this extra funding will allow Transdev and the Teamsters Local 683 to resolve their pending dispute.
This $1 million in funding is in addition to the $21 million in new funding that the MTS Board authorized on January 26, 2023 for a $2/hour wage increase paid to all bus operators employed by Transdev at the East County (ATU Local 1309) and South Bay (Teamsters Local 683) divisions through the contract expiration date of June 30, 2031.
We recognize the growing challenge to hire and retain bus operators. It’s a high cost of living in San Diego, and a job market that has seen unprecedented wage increases. This has made attracting new and retaining current bus operators extremely difficult. But we need to find a resolution from both sides of the negotiating table. Our riders depend on it.
Again, this goodwill compensation effort by MTS will be added to the Board of Directors agenda for consideration next Thursday, June 15.
The Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) operates more than 100 bus routes and three Trolley lines in 10 cities and unincorporated areas of San Diego. MTS is a leader in advancing initiatives to create a greener, cleaner and better-connected transit system in San Diego. Each weekday more than 200,000 passenger trips are taken throughout the MTS system taking people to work, school, health appointments and other essential trips. In FY 2022, MTS served more than 57 million riders. For service schedule updates, news, alerts and more information on how you can use public transportation, go to www.sdmts.com .