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Bus service across most of B.C.'s Fraser Valley, from Abbotsford to Hope, has been halted by a strike.JONATHAN HAYWARD

Bus service across most of B.C.’s Fraser Valley, from Abbotsford to Hope, has been halted by a strike.

More than 200 members of CUPE Local 561 walked off the job, affecting all bus service in Abbotsford, Mission, Agassiz-Harrison, Chilliwack and Hope, although essential HandiDart trips can still be booked.

The union says its members, who work for a company that contracts service to BC Transit, have no pension and make 32 per cent less than bus drivers and other staff elsewhere in Metro Vancouver’s transit system.

Talks between the two sides collapsed last week and the union says BC Transit and its private operator, First Transit, have refused to consider union proposals on wages or pensions.

Picket lines went up Monday at locations around Abbotsford and Chilliwack, as well as the West Coast Express train station in Mission and at the Burnaby bus loop where the Fraser Valley Express bus from Chilliwack makes its final stop.

A statement from BC Transit says it is watching the situation carefully and will update customers when more information is available, but it says the dispute is between First Transit and the CUPE workers.

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