VTA drivers ratify agreement

Drivers headed back to work on Tuesday.

VTA driver Richard Townes is the first to cast his vote for the agreement on Sunday at the Barn Bowl & Bistro. Voting for drivers was held from 11 am to 4 pm. — Gabrielle Mannino

After years of legal battles and months of negotiating, Vineyard Transit Authority bus drivers and the union representing them, the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), accepted an agreement with the driver’s parent company Transit Connection Inc. (TCI) — ending the strike that began one month ago.

Drivers gathered at the Barn, Bowl, & Bistro Sunday to cast ballots to ratify the agreement reached with TCI last week. Polls were open from 11 am to 4 pm. Of the 48 eligible drivers, 32 voted yes and only one voted no.

Richard Townes, one of the drivers, said he was excited to get back to work. Drivers will return to work on Tuesday.

“I’m just happy with the outcome and I’m just happy with the results,” Townes said.

Townes also said State Rep. Dylan Fernandes, D-Falmouth, had called to congratulate them.

“I want to congratulate the men and women bus drivers who fought for dignity, respect and a fair contract and thank the Island community that had their back along the way,” Fernandes later told The Times. “Now the work begins to mend fences and for drivers and management to come together to advance a transportation system already know as a state leader in reliability and clean energy technology.”