Columbus Bus Riders Worry as Possible Strike Looms

As a contract dispute lingers at the Central Ohio Transit Authority, passengers might soon be forced to change routines. A strike by bus drivers and mechanics is possible after the COTA board rejected recommendations from a third party mediator.

After months of bargaining and involvment of a third party “fact finder,” the Central Ohio Transit Authority and the Transport Workers Union failed to reach agreement and assure continued bus service. Unless the two sides can now find some common ground on wages and benefits riders might be faced with limited service. 77 year old LuAnne Gabriel steps off the High Street bus at mid morning at Arcadia Avenue. She’s returning home from a medical appointment and says, if the buses stop, she’ll just cancel her medical appointments until the strike is over.

At the same bus stop, 24 year old Yusuf Danishman waits for a southbound bus to take him to Ohio State University’s campus. He says, walking twenty minutes to campus and twenty minues home is his only option.

While Yusuf is able to walk to campus if the buses are parked, Genevieve Webber will be forced to stay home. The 68 year old says she recently injured her leg and uses the number 83 Crosstown bus daily to visit her daughter.

COTA management says it wants to resolve contract issues without a strike. But, its also making contingency plans.