Posted: 9:40 p.m. MST
Union representatives for drivers and maintenance workers of YCAT buses did not reach an agreement with First Transit, their employer, Wednesday, as they had hoped.
They had been meeting since Monday to negotiate and will resume talks in mid-March.
Employees had been planning to strike; however, it is unclear whether they still plan to do so.
The Yuma County Intergovernmental Public Transportation Authority (YCIPTA) has been prepared with a modified reduced schedule just in case.
For now, they plan to run on a normal schedule, according to John Andoh, the transit director for YCIPTA.
Andoh said they are on standby with the reduced schedule just in case--a schedule that would only run Monday through Friday for limited hours because it would be non-union employees and other company personnel driving buses.
Riders said a strike would impact them.
"I would have to ride my bike [from san luis]," said a bus rider named Saul C. "I've done it before. It's not easy."
An AWC named Kris Burch added, "There's no way for me to get to the college from where I live. I live all the way out by San Luis. It's on the opposite side of town."
Others said they cannot drive because they do not own a car, they have medical conditions that impair them from driving, or they simply cannot afford rising gas prices.
One woman, Elda H. from El Centro, said in Spanish that she uses the bus system because she does not have a driver's license, and without the YCAT, she does not know what she would do because El Centro is an hour away.
This contract disagreement stems from previous failed negotiations.
The union president said he wants overall better working conditions for the employees.
"We're not asking for a lot in pay. We're more concerned with working conditions and medical benefits," said Robert Bean, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1433. "We understand the conditions in Yuma, so we're asking for a medical plan that in their low wages they can afford."
To look over that possible modified schedule, you can visit www.ycat.az.gov.