Negotiations will resume at 2 PM today. OTS representatives, at the mayor’s suggestion, delivered a letter to the Teamsters. The letter promised that if the City Council approves a fare hike that will add $6.8 million to TheBus’ budget, the company will not seek layoffs or reductions in benefits. The letter came after top-ranked Hawai’i DJs Perry & Price spoke with Union leader Mel Kahele on the air.
On KUMU radio this morning, Mayor Harris said he was pleased that both sides were returning to negotiation. He also reiterated the position that he, the Council, and OTS officials have maintained all along – there isn’t one penny to pay for increases in benefits. Kahele said that raises won’t be necessary for an agreement to be reached.
It’s unlikely that buses will be operating normally by this afternoon, Harris said. Therefore, the city’s emergency transportation system will continue to run today. A limited-stop express service with school buses began yesterday, with 15 contracted school buses leaving from Hotel Street to destinations in rural areas at 5:30 PM yesterday. The city believes ridership was limited because of the delay in getting the message out. The buses will cost $3,500 each afternoon.
Handi-van service has been slow because drivers and mechanics have honored picket lines. Service should be at approximately 60% of normal levels today.