Union cancels MARTA paratransit strike set for today

MARTA paratransit workers have called off a one-day strike scheduled for today, citing progress in contract negotiations.

The Amalgamated Transit Union Local 732 had planned to stage a walkout to protest what it said are unsafe buses and dangerous working conditions. The strike would have affected MARTA’s paratransit service for seniors and the disabled, but not regular bus or rail service. A similar walkout in February disrupted nearly half of paratransit trips.

It reveals MARTA lacks a clear vision about what it wants to do and how to get there.

The workers are employees of MV Transportation, a private company that has operated MARTA’s paratransit buses since 2016. MARTA outsourced the service to save money and improve on-time performance.

The union has challenged the decision to outsource the service. In January a Fulton County judge sided with MARTA in the dispute.

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The union has been operating without a contract since MV Transportation took over.

In a Tuesday news release announcing the strike, the union said MARTA’s paratransit buses are “so rundown and old they are endangering the safety and health of the riders who rely on the service.”

In a statement, MARTA said it is “committed to providing safe, reliable transportation to its Mobility patrons—many of whom are among our most vulnerable riders, including senior citizens and people living with disabilities—and will work with MV Transportation to ensure continuity of service with priority given to lifeline customers.”

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