Carson City bus service OK despite Citifare's labor woes

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It will be business as usual for Carson City's PRIDE bus system, despite labor negotiations and a threatened work stoppage by Citifare employees in Reno.

Jim McGrath, spokesman for the Regional Transportation Commission, said PRIDE service is contracted through Frontier Tours, a separate charter service and Carson City passengers shouldn't be affected by any future work stoppage by union members.

PRIDE buses serve both the Meadowood Mall and Reno's downtown city center with 10 round trips a day. For most passengers, these are the primary destinations. Transferring to Citifare buses is usually not an issue, according to Mike Powers, spokesman for Frontier Tours.

Transit Management of Washoe, the private contractor who operates Reno's Citifare and Teamsters Local 533, representing coach operators and other personnel, failed to negotiate a new contract by the June 28 deadline. Citifare employees staged a seven-hour work stoppage that day and the matter is still in arbitration.

"It's been tense, waiting for them to come to an agreement, but as long as they're talking we have full service on the streets," said Nancy Pearl, director of marketing for the transportation commission.

She said officials are taking precautions and will do their best to make sure no one is stranded, should there be a strike.

"We've asked the union to let us know before they strike. If there's a situation that leaves customers stranded, Regional Transportation Commission employees will be picking them up in vans," she said. "The goal will be to provide limited service, based on the numbers of drivers we have. The busiest routes will be covered first."

Transportation commission officials said during a strike they could at least provide a Sunday level of service and the highest priority would be given to South Virginia Street, Sutro to Sun Valley and Fourth Street to Prater Way.

"Northern Nevada is in a tight economy and financial resources are very limited," Pearl said. "We hope a compromise can be reached on wages, benefits and other compensation, but our responsibility lies with our Citifare customers. We encourage them to prepare alternative means of transportation."


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