As you can imagine, this is causing considerable havoc. The number of people driving their cars is up by 20% (according to the radio), which is causing massive traffic jams all over the downtown core.
fairplaythings and I are, normally, bus commuters. In fact, we don't own a car. This is a perfectly reasonable lifestyle choice in Ottawa, right up until the moment when the buses stop running. The last three days have been... well, let's just say they've been interesting.
I was able to work from home Wednesday and Thursday, so I didn't have to leave the house at all (although working from home is a peculiar mixture of both more and less productive than usual... I'm not sure I'd want to do it long-term). We have now managed to secure one of the last rental cars in the city, so I'm in the office today, but this is not a sustainable long-term solution. fairplaythings has been carpooling in the mornings, and then taking a taxi to get home at night, once the traffic has died down. Since I have the car, I'll be picking him up tonight.
We don't know what we're going to do if the strike drags on past Christmas. I'm hoping I'll be able to borrow a car from my parents, but I don't know if it'll be possible or not.
And we're the lucky ones. We can afford to rent a car (even if it isn't a happy thing to do to the budget in the middle of Christmas shopping... we can still manage it). We have jobs that are flexible enough that we can adjust our start/end times and/or work from home some of the time. Not everybody's that lucky. There are a lot of people who use the bus not by choice but because it's the only way they can get around -- and now they're stuck in their houses, in a much more literal way than I was.
I'm not going to rant about the bus drivers or the greedy unions, like everyone else seems to be doing. I think the bus drivers are getting plenty of grief, and it looks from this perspective like they've already lost the public relations battle. I just wish somebody would bend. The union, the city... it almost doesn't matter who. I just want them to be reasonable people. But between a legendarily stiff-necked mayor and an intransigent union leader, it doesn't look like anybody's in the mood to be reasonable anytime soon.
And I get that the strike was timed for maximum impact, but it's still incredibly frustrating. If it were any other time of year, fairplaythings and I could both bike to work with no problems (it's a long bike for me, now that I'm not working downtown, but it's doable). But there's no way we can safely bike with the amount of snow that's on the ground, with the drifts blocking the bike lanes... not to mention the extra traffic.
This is going to be long, and unpleasant. And I don't think anybody's going to come out of it a winner.