Bus drivers begin strike in some Phoenix suburbs

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Some 60,000 bus riders in the suburbs of Phoenix are without rides to work because of a strike by employees for the area’s regional transit system. They’re in a dispute with the company that just took over operations.

Buses serving 40 routes in Mesa, Tempe and other cities in an area covering hundreds of square miles were halted yesterday, leaving drivers in a lurch in nearly 110 degree temperatures.

Drivers on the picket line in front of Tempe bus yard say their biggest issue with First Transit is job security. Union officials say the original contract would have allowed the company to convert all drivers to part-timers, cutting wages and benefits.

The strike by about 400 drivers doesn’t affect buses in Phoenix and western suburbs, or the region’s single light rail line, which runs from north-central Phoenix to Mesa.

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