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By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Tom Abbott

May 23, 2023 (San Diego) -- A work stoppage is currently in effect at the South Bay Bus Division, East County Bus Division, and Copley Park Division due to a strike called after negotiations between Transdev/First Transit and employees broke down.

MTS cautions, “Please plan for limited or no service to the following routes, effective immediately, and until further notice.”

Service disruption updates

East County Bus Division: Bus routes out of the East County division that could be impacted include: 88, 115, 280, 290, 815, 816, 832, 834, 848, 851, 852, 854, 855, 856, 864, 872, 874, 875, 888, 891, 892, 894, 921, 928, 936

South Bay Bus Division: Bus routes out of the South Bay division that could be impacted include: 1, 3, 5, 27, 28, 35, 225, 701, 704, 705, 709, 712, 901, 904, 905, 906, 907, 909, 916, 917, 923, 929, 932, 933, 934, 950/950A, 955, 961, 962, 963, 967, 968, 992.

MTS Access and Minibus Service

MTS Access service is significantly impacted by the work stoppage and limited service will be available to riders. MTS recommends that riders use alternative transportation.

Copley Park Division (MTS Access and minibus service): Bus routes out of the Copley Park Division that could be impacted include: MTS Access, 14, 18, 25, 83, 84, 833, 838, 944, 945, 946, 964, 965, 985; Saturdays: 832, 833, 838, 945, 965; Sundays: 832, 833, 838. 

Imperial Avenue Division: Operating normal service

Kearny Mesa Division: Operating normal service

Trolley System: Operating normal service

Please note: real-time service information may not be accurate. 

MTS states, “Should more operators become available, service is added to route with the highest ridership needs and service area coverage. For specific information on what service may be available by specific route, please contact Information and Trip Planning at 619-233-3004…. We apologize for the delay in service and encourage riders to make alternative transportation plans when available.”

Why are workers striking?

Reporter Nadin Abbott at Medium offers an in-depth discussion on reasons for the strike.

Her article reads in part:

The strike called by Teamsters Local 693 against TRANSDEV is about working conditions and worker dignity. It’s an unfair labor practices strike. The Union, says their employer, Transdev, refuses to negotiate in good faith. Moreover, they started to work on the present contract in October 2022, but Transdev refuses to negotiate in good faith.

The issues come down to lunch time, split shifts and access to bathrooms. This leads directly to driver turnover, which is high. This year local 693 has seen 209 workers leave. Therefore, Transdev is short on drivers.

Split shifts mean that workers work for a few hours, then wait for some time of an unpaid period to complete their shift. These shifts are designed this way by Transdev, not MTS.

Jose Puga, the Business Representative for the local, wrote over email that:

No they do not get paid for split times nor are they fully relieved from the shift because Transdev leaves them out at the bus stops and Transit Centers. In negotiations we asked them to pay the drivers at least minimum wage for the split times. Transdev said No.

Transdev is MTS’ contracted service provider for a number of fixed-route services in San Diego’s South County, and East County. These employees are not directly employed by MTS. The Union agreement covering their employment is between, Teamsters Local 683 and Transdev. MTS does not have any authority or involvement in the negotiations.

Workers have also complained about lack of access to bathrooms and lunch rooms on some shifts, among other issues.

Mechanics are honoring the strike by bus drivers and some have joined the picket line.

Transdev response

Transdev told KPBS, “Transdev is actively negotiating with the Teamsters 683 and remains hopeful that we will come to an amicable resolution soon with minimal disruption to the riding public. We have been engaged in negotiations with the union in good faith, with the goal of reaching a mutually satisfactory agreement that addresses the interests of both parties. During this period, we remain dedicated to ensuring the continuity of our operations and minimizing any impact on our valued customers. We have contingency plans in place to mitigate disruptions and to provide ongoing support to our clients. We have made good faith financial concessions, in addition to other important economic concessions and remain open to continued dialogue.”

The strike could last for weeks, Abbott estimates.

More information

For additional information from MTS, visit:

Alerts & Detours

Minibus and Paratransit Service

South Bay Service

Telephone Information: 619-233-3004


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Good on us. . .

we don't suffer from lost bus service out in Jacumba because we don't have bus service, only an uncomfortable long-riding van that connects us rubes to the highbrows that get to ride on buses.