Second day of Tucson bus strike

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Thousands of Tucsonans were forced to find another way to work for the second day in a row as the strike by Teamsters Local 104 continues against the SunTran municipal bus system in Tucson.

And for the second day in a row, SunTran was only able to provide service on seven of 40 scheduled routes.  And the company is providing service only between the hours of 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. 

Most of the drivers working are management employees with a small number of regular drivers who have decided to cross the picket lines.

Buses Tuesday continue to run late on the routes actually running and are very crowded.  Buses on Broadway, Oracle and other major routes were running only about once an hour.  Crowds gathered at bus stops and faced "standing room only" on the buses when they did arrive.

Andy Marshall of the Teamsters local said they were waiting for a call from the city to get negotiations going again.

Michele Joseph, a spokesperson for SunTran, told Fox 11 News Tuesday that there are no new talks scheduled.  "I think everyone is just waiting to see what the city council will do tomorrow on the Memorandum of Understanding with the RTA," she said. 

She is referring to possible action by the Tucson City Council Wednesday morning to approve the proposal to move Sun Tran to control of the Regional Transportation Authority.  That is a body formed in the wake of voter approval of a half-cent sales tax in 2006 to improve area roads and transportation systems.  The Teamsters union has aggressively supported the move, saying RTA has better funding.

The Pima County Board of Supervisors, on a 3-1 vote and over the strong objections of Supervisor Richard Elias, passed a Memorandum of Understanding Tuesday which would eventually turn the county's paratransit system over to the RTA.  In the discussion, County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry told the board the resolution is not connected to the SunTran/RTA discussions saying that was a decision of the City of Tucson.  He indicated that there is a "patch work" of transit systems in the county and there are efforts underway to provide a stronger regionalization of them to cut costs and improve service.

Elias charged it was a "huge mistake" to turn the county system over to RTA because of it's perceived lack of funding.  Huckelberry told Elias he had seen, but not studied, a spreadsheet provided by the RTA and its staff had indicated it had viable funding for at least five years.

Persons with questions about schedules are asked to call Sun Tran at 520 792 9222.