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‘2 minutes to use the washroom’: Bus drivers say short breaks leading to stressful days

VANCOUVER – During the ongoing Metro Vancouver transit dispute, bus drivers say one of the big issues they’re upset about is their daily workload.

They’re especially frustrated about the amount of time they get between finishing one route and starting the next.

CTV News Vancouver went on a ride on one of the region’s busiest buses to get a first-hand look at working conditions.

On a Friday morning 99 B-line route to the University of British Columbia, driver Adam Flores was scheduled to have a 9-minute break between runs.

Due to traffic, his route was delayed, leaving Flores only two minutes to offload passengers, park his bus and use the washroom.

“We need that recovery time for our mental aspect and just to get out of the seat,” Flores said.

Another driver, Krista Lee Hanson said in these situations, drivers may have no time to get up.

“The worst part about it is you kind of have to think … ’do I stop here and run into a coffee shop?’,” Lee Hanson said. “If I do that I have to tell the passengers I’m running into a coffee shop … so I am inconveniencing them if I take care of my needs and there is always a risk of violence when you do that.”

Coast Mountain Bus Company president Michael McDaniel said the company hears drivers loud and clear; agreeing there needs to be more recovery time.

“I share that concern,” McDaniel said. “We have talked to our operators many times over the last number of months, it is something we’ve been working on prior to bargaining and in the bargaining process.”

CMBC said its latest offer to the union will promise more break time, but the two sides remain far apart and are not even talking.  

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