October 31, 2014

Pay, benefits keys to better bus safety

Calvin Studivant

By Calvin StudivantAlternate vice president, Bus Department Fatigue management was a topic of significant importance earlier this month at a National Transportation Safety Board forum I attended in Washington, D.C. The troubling news from the forum is that non-union bus operators, employed by so-called low-cost carriers, are being forced to work too many hours, with [...]

UTU driver uninjured in fatal Texas bus crash

VICTORIA, Texas — UTU member and Valley Transit bus operator Guadalupe Ruiz escaped injury May 12 when his bus was sideswiped by a pickup truck near here. Ruiz is a member of UTU Local 1670, Laredo, Texas. The Associated Press reports that one of the bus passengers was killed and 21 other riders injured in [...]

Automatic disability insurance for bus members

The UTU has selected Lincoln National Life Insurance Co., a member of the Lincoln Financial Group, to provide a national group voluntary short-term disability plan for all bus members. Coverage is for off-duty accidents and illness, and is automatic unless bus members opt out. The Lincoln National Life disability insurance plan provides a basic “safety [...]

Charlotte bus mechanics approve new pact

The members of Local 1596, Charlotte, N.C., have ratified a new three-year deal with Transit Management of Charlotte (CATS) by an overwhelming margin. UTU represents bus mechanics on the property. Major advances were made in job classifications and job protection, with a guarantee of no employee layoffs for 15 months following the ratification date. UTU [...]

Buffalo school bus drivers ratify agreement

BUFFALO, N.Y. — School bus drivers employed by First Student here and represented by the UTU have ratified a new agreement by a 213-90 vote. The agreement ratified by members of UTU Local 1908 provides for wage increases retroactive to June 2010, no loss of benefits and improvements to a 401k plan. Calvin Studivant, alternate [...]

The shameful state of bus-safety advances

WASHINGTON — Observing that her five-year-old soccer-mom van contains safety technology more advanced than is integrated into many motor coaches, National Transportation Safety Board Chairperson Deborah Hersman March 30 chided Congress and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for dragging their feet on bus safety legislation and regulation. Hersman testified before the Senate Transportation Subcommittee [...]

Troubling times for public transit

Vic Baffoni; Baffoni, Vic; Baffoni

By Vic Baffoni Vice President, Bus Department   These are troubling times for our nation, states and municipalities. Budget problems are forcing cutbacks in a wide variety of public services, and public transit often is targeted for cuts. At the extreme is the union busting going on in Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio and other states. But [...]

Singing Puccini, she trades bus job for TV

Warning: Do not try this without your employer’s permission. That said, a bus driver in Geneva, Switzerland, has gained television stardom there for her singing while at the wheel, reports AFP international news service. The 49-year-old female driver, Maya Wirz, was given to singing opera while on the job, and soon gained the nickname of Switzerland’s [...]

School bus Local 1741 ratifies new agreement

SAN FRANCISCO — First Student school bus drivers here, represented by UTU Local 1741, have ratified a new wage and benefits agreement by a 72 percent majority. “Our strategy was to keep negotiations limited to economics because the work rules in our contract are the standard by which most other school bus drivers measure their [...]

Rail, transit and bus together in St. Paul

Decades ago, the chairman of New York Central Railroad complained that while freight could move cross country without being transferred from one boxcar to another, transcontinental passengers often had to change trains in Chicago. Even today, on Amtrak, passengers must change trains in Chicago. A similar complaint is heard regarding intermodal passenger transportation — the separation [...]