In order to avoid the temporary layoff of 500 OC Transpo drivers, the city is asking that mechanics be allowed to return to work immediately to carry out the necessary repairs.

According to OC Transpo general manager Alain Mercier, there is a significant backlog of work that is going to limit service to around 30 per cent of capacity the day after the strike ends, which means many drivers could be laid off as soon as they return to work.

Before the strike began, OC Transpo had 200 buses out of service for maintenance. Another 289 buses require safety certifications by the end of the month, and as a result of buses being idle for so long, 300 would need new batteries.

Mercier said those 789 buses won’t even be looked at until basic maintenance is done on service-ready buses.

OC Transpo is exploring the option to expedite the certification and inspections, and could even end up sending buses to Montreal, Kingston or Toronto to have some of the work done.

Mercier said they will focus on the Transitway, mainline routes and hospital areas during peak-periods for the first two weeks. O-Train service would begin almost as soon as the strike is over.

The rest of the mainline routes across the city would come back on line over the next five weeks, with express and local services not expected in service during the peak hours until the seventh week.

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