The City of Ottawa and the OC Transpo union announced late this afternoon that the 51 day strike action which has plagued the city is over and both sides have agreed to proceed to binding arbitration. Buses will be back on the streets on a staggered basis with the system likely not to be restored to full capacity for a number of weeks given required maintenance required on the bus fleet that has been lying dormant since prior to Christmas.
Local media were borderline exuberant in their reporting of the story, likely emblematic of the reaction of most citizens at large across the capital. It is also clear that the federal government threat of back-to-work legislation appeared to play a catalytic role here.
It is more than likely that once initial relief and euphoria die down, the post-mortem will be harsh for Ottawa's municipal leadership in particular as well as the bus drivers themselves. It will also be interesting to see to what extent ridership is restored. After the last strike in 1996, OC Transpo ridership remained below pre-strike level for an extended period of time given that folks had settled into new routines. More to come.