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DCCL confirm that buses, steam railway and MER will operate during bus driver strike 14 December 2012

The Department of Community, Culture and Leisure can confirm that it has received formal notification from Unite the Union that their bus driving members have voted in favour of conducting industrial action and they have advised that the strike will begin on Thursday 20 December 2012 and last for 3 days.

Minister for Community, Culture and Leisure, Hon G Cregeen MHK said: ‘I am disappointed that it has come to this point and I am still hopeful that a negotiated settlement can be reached without industrial action. However, the Department is well prepared for the strike and will endeavour to minimise disruption to the public. In simple terms, all of the Island’s secondary schools will have comprehensive public transport options and Bus Vannin intends to operate its Sunday Service and Bank Holiday timetable. The Night Owl service will be operating as planned every night to ensure that festive partygoers can get home safely. In addition to the bus services, the Department intends to operate the steam railway every 90 minutes and the MER will be running every 30 minutes. Both will have extra services at peak and school times. For full details and timetables, please visit www.busandrail.info or www.gov.im/dccl, go to the Welcome Centre or call us on 01624 663366. The Department will also be keeping people up to date on all Government social media channels.’

The Minister added: ‘I am grateful for the support the Department has received from all other Government Departments and the private sector. I can confirm that we are working closely to respond to the industrial action.’

Nick Black, Chief Executive Officer of the DCCL said: ‘We are confident that we can still operate an effective, albeit reduced, bus service throughout the strike. Bus drivers who are not members of Unite the Union are not permitted to strike and will be working. In addition to these drivers, the Department will be using casual drivers as well as other Public Transport staff who hold PPV licenses. We are also seeking to recruit additional casual staff. Any Manx workers who hold a valid PPV and are available for work during strike periods are invited to apply to work as a casual worker with the Department. Anyone wishing to register an interest should contact the Office of Human Resources on ohr@gov.im or telephone 686300 on Monday 17 December. This level of staffing should ensure that the Sunday bus service will be possible. I urge the public to continue to use the buses for shopping and, through the Night Owl service, to get home safely from Christmas parties.’

Schools will be open as normal and children should attend. The school services available during the strike are planned to run as follows:

SchoolServices
QEII High SchoolNormal bus services will operate
Ramsey Grammar SchoolTrams will mirror Route 3 and other buses will operate as normal
St Ninian’s/Bemahague High SchoolSome buses will be required to make two runs to provide the normal routes. This will mean some students will arrive at school later than usual. DEC have approved this and allowances will be made for these students.
Ballakermeen High School
Castle Rushen High SchoolFrom Port Erin and Port St Mary, the Isle of Man Steam Railway will serve using a temporary platform at School Hill. The train will also stop at Castletown Station. The station will be lit with shelter and temporary traffic signals will serve to ensure safe crossing at School Hill.
King Williams CollegeSteam Railway will serve Castletown Station and Ronaldsway Halt
Please note: Some journeys may be retimed and details will be available on www.iombusandrail.info. Arrangements for primary schools will be published later.

For other bus services, the Department has advised the public to consult the Sunday and Bank Holiday services in the Bus Vannin timetable. These are available online at www.busandrail.info or www.gov.im/dccl and at the Welcome Centre.

Car parking is available at the NSC and Bowl Stadium. The NSC and Bowl Stadium are within 20 minute walking distance to the centre of Douglas and bus services 1 and 2 every 30 minutes and service 21B to Douglas Town Centre serves every hour on a Sunday timetable.

In addition to bus services, the Department will be utilising the Isle of Man Steam Railway and the Manx Electric Railway (MER) to replace services 1 and 2 south of Castletown and the whole of service 3. The Department intends to operate the steam railway every 90 minutes; the MER will be running every 30 minutes. Both will have extra services at peak and school times.

A special bus will link Derby Castle with the centre of Douglas and St Ninian’s, Bemahauge and Ballakermeen High Schools at the appropriate times.

Full bus and rail timetables will be available online as soon as possible at www.busandrail.info or www.gov.im/dccl and at the Welcome Centre, which is open from 8am – 6pm, closed on Sundays.

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