Battle for Better Pay and Precautions Continues Between GVT and Transit Union

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MESA COUNTY

The Amalgamated Transit Union wants better for their bus drivers including: better barriers than a shower liner, better air filtration than opened windows, and better pay. As the Coronavirus war rages on, the wheels on the city bus keep going, and by the way, they’re hiring. GVT’s hiring bus drivers. Are you going to apply? Charles Townsend says, “No.” “I would not, according to their pay,” says Darienne Irvin.

$13.39 is starting pay for a front line city bus driver, but the national average is $21.50 per hour. Darienne says, “I’m on their side. they need more pay, they need more protection.” “A couple of bucks more, that’s not going to kill the company,” says Charles.

The battle continues between our essential city bus drivers, and GVT for the safety of drivers and passengers alike. “They need to be treated better,” says Townsend. “It’s sad to see what they have to go through. We’ve seen a lot of drivers quit,” says Irvin.

GVT finally, gave a response saying they’re following those safety measures, and now, the latest installment: a diagonal shower liner. Charles says, “I think that they need a little bit more. You know? Because these shower curtains, they’re just a joke.”

Now, the passengers are the referees. Darienne has been riding the city bus for work, errands, doctor’s appointments, and says riding GVT has been her essential need for the last four years. “They’ve really gotten to know me, and if I ever have something that’s bothered me, I’ve always been straight up with the drivers. They’re there to protect me.”

The driver’s protect the passengers and GVT says they protect the drivers, but the union says they need more than the $1 fix because according to the Amalgamated Transit Union, drivers are being assaulted every three days in America. They say they need the $50,000 substantial safety solution, but, even this solution can’t fix bad manners. “People are always cutting them (bus drivers) off,” says Townsend. “People are always running red lights in front of the buses,” says Irvin. Charles has been riding the city bus for half a decade and has seen a lot while riding. “People in Grand Junction really have a hard time knowing how to drive.”

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