MESA COUNTY, Colo. — Grand Valley Transit has $5.4 million federal dollars to spend, and at the Grand Valley Regional Transportation Committee Budget meeting on August 24th, brakes weren’t on the list, and neither were handicap ramps. Scott Beilfuss has been fighting for GVT driver protection rights for about two years and says, “That’s a lot of cash! The whole budget for the whole Grand Valley Transit’s less than $3 million.”
Life isn’t fair, but people sure can be, and the reason this concerned citizen has joined the fight for fairness for local city bus drivers since the beginning of the pandemic, and even years before that. “They don’t get any benefits. They don’t get any protection. They don’t get any insurance. Their pay is terrible,” says Beilfuss.
About $13 per hour is one of the reasons why the Amalfamated Transit Union has asked the Grand Valley Transportation Committee for better COVID-19 relief for risking their lives as front line fighters. “Why on Earth are they holding off on taking care of these people,” says Beilfuss.
$5,800 might go towards a new city bus logo, but some local bus drivers and a concerned citizen want to know where the millions in CARES Act funding is going because right now, they know where it’s not going, and it’s not going to protect the bus drivers. Scott says, “That money should go to some of the hazard pay that they should have been receiving. They should have been getting time and a half for serving on the front line, and some of that money can be used for the protection that they’re missing.”
The dual protection bus drivers say they need are better barriers than a shower liner to protect them from COVID, and also, protect them from being potential targets of violence. Beilfuss says, “They should treat their employees like they treat themselves.”
After two years of fighting for the rights of Grand Valley Transit drivers, this do-gooder isn’t done. “We are going to keep following up on this, and going to meetings, and those people should be made whole,” says Beilfuss.