It seems DARTS cannot win. Last year, Council grilled DARTS demanding they cut their budget by one million dollars. Part of Council’s demand was that DARTS retire its large Arboc vehicles and replace them with smaller ProMaster buses that Council says allow for more flexibility.
The new ProMaster vehicles are smaller than the Arboc, and DARTS pays drivers 25% less per hour to operator them.
Today during the November 2, 2017 Hamilton Accessible Transit Review Sub-Committee, Councillors heard from two delegations of nursing home staff that the new buses are too small for their trips booked with DARTS. From DARTS, Councillors were told that DARTS operators have rejected the latest labour contract offer – despite their union negotiating team recommending the deal.
A delegation of nursing homes told Councilors that the new Promasters are not large enough for their trips with residents – they want DARTS to at least have some of the larger Arboc vehicles in the fleet. They stated that when they request DARTS service, they are receiving multiple vehicles and feel it will be more efficient to have larger vehicles.
Councillors received both the staff updates and nursing home delegations, without a motion directing any actions.