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A work stoppage by paratransit drivers is reverberating through the BRTA's regular bus routes and affecting the work and school schedules of thousands of riders.

BRTA Work Stoppage Playing Havoc With Regular Bus Routes

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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The paratransit strike is entering its second week with no sign of resolution.
 
The work stoppage has affected the regular Berkshire Regional Transit Authority bus routes, causing havoc for people trying to get to jobs, schools and other appointments. 
 
One individual, who wished to remain anonymous, told iBerkshires they'd used up sick time because they were unable to get to work last week and a friend lost her job for the same reason. 
 
"If this strike goes on much longer I don't know if I will have a job or how I will pay for housing," the frustrated BRTA rider wrote.
 
Transit officials have been working to keep some semblance of limited access on routes going up and down the county. 
 
"This is a disappointing situation where the paratransit division is impacting the fixed route division, which has a current contract to work," wrote BRTA Administrator Robert Malnati. "Currently, the lines of communication remain open to hopefully resolve this strick quickly."
 
The most current regular bus route schedule will be in effect beginning Tuesday, Dec. 11: 
 
Route 1 will operate 6:30 and 9:00 morning runs and 2:30, and 4:30 evening runs. The 6:30 and 4:30 trips will stop on Main Street North Adams via Hodges Cross Road and Church Street.
 
Route 2 will operate the 9:00 morning run and 4:30 evening run.
 
Route 11 will operate 8:35, 9:35, and 10:35 morning runs and 1:50, 2:50, 3:50 and 4:50 evening runs. When this bus returns to the ITC from Berkshire Community College, it will then travel to Walmart via East Street and Hubbard Avenue.
 
The union representing paratransit drivers for Paratransit Management of the Berkshires rejected a contract on Dec. 3. Despite the fixed-route drivers having come to a three-year agreement with BRTA in July, they will not cross the picket line. 
 
Supervisors and employees of Berkshire Transit Management, which operates the fixed-route service, have been stepping in but there are not enough of them to run all the regular routes. 
 
"This service is limited and is very unfair to the riders throughout Berkshire County who depend on the bus every day," wrote Malnati.
 
Negotiations on a three-year contract with the paratransit drivers, schedulers and dispatch personnel began in June. According to the BRTA, they were offered a 16 percent wage increase for full-time operators and 19.6 percent for part-time, along with more paid time off and other benefits. 
 
The BRTA has an annual ridership of more than 600,000, with close to 80,000 of those through the paratransit service that supplements the fixed bus service for those with impaired mobility.
 

Tags: BRTA,   bus routes,   contract negotiations,   strike,   

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Cultural Pittsfield This Week: Sept. 20-26

TONIGHT, Sept. 19 is 3rd Thursday: Walk a Mile!

The final 3rd Thursday of 2019 is 3rd Thursday: Walk a Mile, a fun annual fundraiser which raises money for the Elizabeth Freeman Center. Plus enjoy a live performance from Whiskey Treaty Roadshow, Barkha Dance Company in the Jacob's Pillow Dance Zone, food, vendors and other entertainment for the entire family. 5-8 p.m.
 
MUSIC & NIGHTLIFE
A Night in New Orleans features Rev Tor & Friends celebrating the life, music and spirit of three New Orleans legends: Dr. John, Charles Neville and Art Neville. The concert will feature two sets of Big Easy-flavored jams. Berkshire County's own piano legend Benny "Fingers" Kohn will be at the grand piano for a set of Dr. John classics; and Rev Tor will lead a set full of The Meters and Neville Brothers NOLA Funk, featuring Max Creek's Mark Mercier and a special appearance by Khalif Neville. There will be an appearance by the Berkshire Theatre Group Youth Choir, and a few other surprises, too! Pre-show entertainment by Tom Corrigan at 6:30 p.m. Show begins at 8 p.m. $25 and up.
Plus... 
FRI Burger Friday for Autism Connections at Otto's | FRI Mark Kelso at Bread & Roses Coffee House | FRI Smoothini Las Vegas Comedy Magic at The A | FRI Abandoned Building Brewery Beer Dinner at Hotel on North | FRI Melissa Brinton at Rusty Anchor | FRI Blue Light Trio at Rainbow | FRI JB's Acoustic Gravel at Proprietor's Lodge | FRI Tom Savoy at Hotel on North | FRI-SAT Wine, Cheese and Trees at Bousquet | FRI-SUN Orion at The Whitney | FRI-THU Hold These Truths at Barrington Stage | SAT Ballroom Dancing at Zion Lutheran Church | SAT Mary Ann Palermo & First Take at Mission | SAT F-Bomb at The A | SAT Patient Zero Fest at American Legion | SAT Sawyer Country at Rusty Anchor | SUN The Young@Heart Chorus at The Colonial | SUN Duets for Piano at Zion Lutheran Church | MON Milton's Gang: "Funny Moments" at Berkshire Athenaeum | MON Jazz Night at Mission | TUE Berkshire Humane Society Pasta Dinner at Zucco's | WED Riverside Brothers at Methuselah | WED Gruppo Mondo at Rainbow | THU Pete Boyd at Proprietor's Lodge | THU Kung Fu & Shokazoba at The Colonial | THU The Picky B's at Mission
 
FAMILY FRIENDLY
Explore local educational opportunities at Miss Hall's School during the Berkshire County School Fair from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Meet with representatives from PreK-12 schools, learn about their programs, and collect some giveaways. View a list of participating schools on the website. No reservations necessary.
Plus...
FRI WeeMuse Adventures at Berkshire Museum FRI-THU Parenting Classes & Play Groups at 18 Degrees (formerly Berkshire Children & Families) SAT Chow Time at Berkshire Museum SAT Pop-up Play Day at Berkshire Museum SAT Curiosity Day at Berkshire Athenaeum SUN Discovery Tank Program at Berkshire Museum MON Tiny Tots Story Time at Berkshire Athenaeum MON Teen Mural Design Team Info Session at Berkshire Athenaeum MON+ Teen Book Giveaway at Berkshire Athenaeum TUE WeeMuse Littlest Learners at Berkshire Museum TUE Cherub Choir for Young Singers at Berkshire Music School TUE Teen Tech Reboot Info Session at Berkshire Athenaeum WED Make & Take: Tile Art at Berkshire Athenaeum THU Preschool Play & Learn at Berkshire Athenaeum THU Farm Friends at Hancock Shaker Village THU Lego Club at Berkshire Athenaeum THU Dungeons & Dragons at Berkshire Athenaeum THU Rock Ensemble Series begins at Berkshire Music School
 
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