Bus trouble for VANOC as drivers revolt

By BOB MACKIN , QMI Agency

The company operating the media bus system for the 2010 Winter Olympics met with drivers on Thursday to quell a rubber-tire mutiny.

The fleet of more than 200 white public transit buses with California licence plates was parked and replaced for a day by Coast Mountain Bus Company vehicles and drivers.

Contracted drivers complained about working 18-hour days, long waits for rides between VANOC bus depots and their Fraser Valley accommodation, substandard meals and inexperienced dispatchers.

Miguel Colon of Edison Transportation told drivers during a raucous meeting at a Best Western Hotel in Langley that change would come Monday when more drivers arrive. VANOC contracted Florida’s Gameday Management to manage the bus and motorcoach system which relies heavily on drivers and vehicles from the U.S. Edison, also Florida-based, is a subcontractor.

“You’ve got ridiculous shuttles picking you up for work, sitting around, not getting food, getting on a bus, working a long day, waiting three hours to get back home and getting a phone call that your schedule’s not ready and you’re going to have to wait another two hours,” Colon said in a recording obtained by 24 hours.

“I am sorry,” Colon said. “All I can do now is keep trying to fight these fights, it’s just not right and I know that.”

VANOC executive vice-president Terry Wright downplayed the bus trouble.

“That’s a natural situation when you begin transportation at Olympic Games,” Wright said.

POLL