Bus strike continues into second day; some riders get creative - FOX 10 News | myfoxphoenix.com

Bus strike continues into second day; some riders get creative

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TEMPE, Ariz. -
A strike by transit bus drivers affecting tens of thousands of riders in Phoenix's eastern suburbs is in its second day.

The strike began Thursday, shutting down 40 routes in Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa and Tempe, along with express routes from those cities to Scottsdale and Phoenix. The affected routes serve some 57,000 riders daily.

Negotiators for the Amalgamated Transit Union and operator First Transit continued negotiations Friday.

A contract offer was rejected earlier this week because it would have made it easier to fire drivers and forced them to pay more for health insurance.

We're hearing both sides are making progress, but still no resolution.

"Everyday, everyday I have relied on it," said Cathleen Juerling.

Juerling relies on the bus to take her the four miles to and from work, but now, she's stranded, like thousands of other Valley Metro passengers after contract negotiations broke down and drivers went on strike.

"I have to work, you know, I've had my job for over 16 years.  I cannot lose that job, so I have to be here for work and I can't miss days," she said.

Instead of trying to bum rides off friends and family, Juerling took the proactive approach and bought a bike.

"I haven't ridden a bike in over 20 years because I'm in my 50s.  I didn't think I'd be able to ride a bike," she said.

She rode to work Friday for the first time.

"I made it -- it took me 35 minutes to go four miles," she said.  "Maybe in a few days, it won't take me as much."

Juerling says the bike was her only choice.

"I couldn't really afford the bike, but I couldn't afford to lose my job and I can't afford to lose pay, so hence the bike."

She's hoping a solution will be reached soon.

"I'm hoping they end the strike and I'm hoping the drivers get what they want... get what they need."

Routes affected:

FLASH, MERCURY, VENUS, EARTH, MARS, JUPITER, BUZZ, LINK—Main St., LINK—Arizona Ave., 30, 40, 45, 48, 56, 61, 62, 65, 66, 72, 77, 81, 96, 104, 108, 112, 120, 128, 136, 156, 184, 511, 514, 520, 521, 522, 531, 533, 535, 541 and 542.

Phoenix (30, 45, 48, 56, 61, 72, 77, 108, 156, 514, 520, 521, 522, 531, 533, 535, 541, 542) and Scottsdale (EARTH, 72, 81, 511, 514)

Other travel options: phoenix.gov/publictransit/index.html

Carpooling options:
www.sharetheride.com/Public/Home.aspx
www.erideshare.com/carpool.php?dstate=AZ

For the latest information:
valleymetro.org
facebook.com/valleymetro
twitter.com/valleymetrorpta
602-253-5000

Follow this story: Bus drivers begin strike in some Phoenix suburbs

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press modified.

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