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CNN Today

Talks Get Under Way in Attempt to Settle L.A. Mass Transit Strike

Aired September 20, 2000 - 2:18 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Talks are now under way in earnest in an attempt to settle the Los Angeles mass transit strike. Negotiators are meeting over the bus and rail operators' contract dispute that has left the area's working class scrambling for new ways to get around, and some businesses are hurting for customers also.

Here's CNN's Greg LaMotte with the latest.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GREG LAMOTTE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A mad rush at Union Station in Los Angeles -- with bus and rail operators out on strike, the Metropolitan Transit Authority is using subcontracted buses in an effort to provide limited service. Bonnie Garrett is a 7th-grade English teacher whose day is starting three hours earlier in order to get to school on time.

BONNIE GARRETT, TEACHER: I want the blue line back. I want it back, because this is where I grade my papers, and this where I have peace of mind. I want it back. I want the blue line back.

LAMOTTE: Others say it's not so bad.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: First day was a little rough, but each day is getting a little better.

LAMOTTE: Bus and rail workers went out on strike Saturday. Normally, the bus and rail lines handle a half million passengers a day; now it's down to a matter of a few thousand. MTA employee Kelly Tran normally works as a risk analyst; now...

KELLY TRAN, MTA EMPLOYEE: I'm one of the strike busters.

LAMOTTE: Martha Butler is a planning manager; today...

MARTHA BUTLER, MTA EMPLOYEE: Today I'm crowd control manager here at Union Station.

LAMOTTE: Employees are doing odd jobs in hopes of being able to provide at least some service. Face-to-face negotiations have resumed between the transit authority and the union. In the meantime, transit officials say the strike in L.A. could very well have an impact on mass transportation planners across the country who are deciding how to build their transportation infrastructures.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From the impressions that they may be getting about transit, as a result of this strike, may leave impressions in them -- in their minds and in their opinions, and these opinion leaders will have an influence on the future of many other cities throughout the country.

LAMOTTE: It should be noted even with the strike, only 3 percent of all trips in a typical day here in L.A. are being impacted.

Greg LaMotte, CNN, Los Angeles.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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