Golden Gate Transit Drivers Taking Absences Since Last Week

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Bob Redell

Golden Gate Transit has canceled "a higher than usual" number of bus trips because drivers are taking unscheduled absences, the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District said Thursday.

On its website, the district said Golden Gate Transit has been negotiating a new contract with bus operators for many months in good faith.

"Our current need to cancel multiple trips daily stems from ongoing unannounced labor unrest led by our bus drivers' union, in which a very high number of drivers are taking unscheduled absences," the district said.

"We are hopeful the current spate of high absenteeism will diminish soon, but we are unable to predict how long the labor actions will last," the district said.

The district said it is canceling as few trips as possible and notifying customers with as much advance notice as it can provide.

District spokeswoman Priya Clemens said the job action began on Sept. 19 when 24 percent of the drivers took absences. There are 779 bus trips on a weekday and the district is losing 15 trips a day now, Clemens said.

The Amalgamated Transit Union that represents Golden Gate Transit employees is asking for higher wages and an increase in pension contributions. Their contract expired in October, and the union is seeking another three-year contract, Clemens said.

The San Rafael-based union did not return a call for comment Thursday afternoon.

Information about Golden Gate Transit trip cancellations is available on Twitter at @GoldenGateBus. Riders also can track their bus in real-time on their mobile device via Transit App on the district's website www.goldengate.org.

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