PHOENIX (AP) -- Hundreds of bus drivers are on strike in the Phoenix area, shutting down service that serves some 57,000 riders daily within several suburbs and on routes to other cities.
The Valley Metropolitan regional Transit Authority (aka Valley Metro) says the strike that began early Thursday affects service in Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa and Tempe as well as express routes from those cities to Phoenix and Scottsdale.
The strike doesn't affect bus service in Phoenix and other suburbs or Valley Metro's light train system.
The strike is a result of a labor dispute between the Amalgamated Transit Union and First Transit, a company that operates part of Valley Metro's system.
The union says drivers overwhelmingly rejected a proposed agreement.
The routes shut down strike represent approximately 40 percent of Valley Metro's route system.
Try to catch rides with friends or coworkers today or go to http://t.co/Fn5otx1I5q for a carpool match.— Valley Metro RPTA (@ValleyMetroRPTA) August 1, 2013
A strike in March 2012 crippled bus service in metropolitan Phoenix for six days before it was settled. That labor dispute involved more than 600 Phoenix drivers and another 310 in Tempe who work for Veolia Transportation Services. It affected 50 routes on the combined Valley Metro regional bus service.
According to Valley Metro:
All bus service in Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa and Tempe would be affected should a strike occur. Routes impacted are: 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.
There are routes traveling into 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).