Pacific Western Transportation (PWT), the BC Transit contractor responsible for transit operations in the Sea to Sky, has been sold to a U.S.-based company, a move that was announced only a day after the end of the longest transit strike in B.C. history.
New Jersey-based Student Transportation of America/Student Transportation of Canada (STA), North America's third-largest provider of school bus transportation services, announced it had completed its acquisition of PWT on June 16, the day after PWT and Unifor Local 114 agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement after a 137-day strike.
The acquisition will add more than 5,000 employees to STA's family of companies and 4,100 vehicles to its fleet.
PWT provides transit and transportation services throughout British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Nova Scotia and Yukon. Under the acquisition agreement, Tom Jezersek, current president and chief operating officer for PWT, will continue to lead the company and its current management and staff following the merger.
"For decades, the hardworking team at Pacific Western Transportation has put our customers first. We've prioritized safety, ensured reliable services, and forged strong relationships with customers and communities. Now, we are pleased to reach an agreement with STA/STC, a like-minded company devoted to safety and service, that shares our same goals and vision for the company," said Michael Colborne, chairman and CEO of PWT, in a release. "STA/STC is very much a family business like ours. Its service, performance history, company stability, and commitment to sustainability were all positive factors that weighed into our decision. We are confident STA/STC will uphold our values, expand advancement opportunities, and position the merged companies for continued growth."
BC Transit is expected to put out an RFP for Sea to Sky transit operations next year. Under B.C. labour law, if a new operator takes over the five-year contract with Unifor Local 114, they are required to carry on the tenets of the deal.