August 20, 2011
(August 18, 2:15 p.m. EDT) -- Bermuda's cotton-candy-pink buses have disappeared from the island roads following a driver strike that began Wednesday afternoon.
According to the Royal Gazette Online, the strike was sparked by the sacking of a driver, Jennifer Harvey, who refused to submit to a mandatory drug test (five times) after being involved in an accident in June. As a condition of employment, government policy requires drivers in an accident to take a drug test.
A half-dozen cruise ships are scheduled to visit Bermuda over the next five days, and the buses are a popular way for tourists to travel around the island. Holland America's Veendam is in Hamilton today and Friday, with Norwegian Gem and Celebrity Summit docked in King's Wharf over the same period. Alternative transportation options include taxis and ferries, and passengers can rent bicycles or motor scooters.
There are few details pointing to when the bus strike might end. Meanwhile, citizens have organized to protest the stop in service and to urge Harvey to take the drug test. Bernews.com, which is live blogging on the strike, reports that Facebook pages-cum-ride-share forums have materialized, with locals said to be providing transportation for those left stranded by the strike.
--by Dan Askin, News Editor