TO MOST Launceston Metro bus drivers, yesterday was a normal day.
``A couple of people have said do we have to pay?,'' an anonymous bus driver said.
``And we said `yes by law you are required to' . . . but apart from that it's been pretty normal.''
Yesterday was the first day of the Unions Tasmania's ``No fares Thursday'' campaign, which is expected to continue every week until the Metro pay dispute is resolved.
The campaign urged passengers not to pay to ride a bus, however drivers were not allowed to influence passengers' decisions.
Passengers who refused to pay were given a ``first and final'' demand card by drivers - an instruction given to them by Metro.
It is the latest protest action in bus drivers campaign for a 3 per cent pay increase.
They have been offered 2.1 per cent, which equates to an extra 2 cents an hour.
Metro chief executive Heather Haselgrove said the day had very little impact.
``From drivers' reports it appears as few as one or two people on each service has boarded a bus and refused to pay or accept an unpaid fare voucher,'' Ms Haselgrove said.
However, Unions Tasmania secretary Kevin Harkins said the day went well.
``We're not keeping statistics but we have had very encouraging feedback from bus drivers,'' Mr Harkins said.
``Lots of people had been participating, with lots of people refusing to pay fares and lots paying the fares, but telling bus drivers `we support you'.''
The Rail, Tram and Bus Union has distanced itself from the campaign, but secretary Sam Simonetis said bus drivers were feeling encouraged by people showing their support.
She said early reports showed more people took part in the campaign in Hobart than Launceston.
Sustainable Transport Minister Nick McKim said the campaign was unhelpful and was an attempt to hinder the process of the dispute.
``It is not constructive and does nothing to bring a resolution closer,'' Mr McKim said.
He hoped Metro and the union came to a resolution soon.
Mr Harkins said the No Fare Thursday campaign would continue and expected more people to take part as time went on.
Metro will release figures of how many people took part in No Fare Thursday today.