Striking OC Transpo workers say they're prepared to stay on strike for as long as it takes to get a new contract.

Traffic came to a crawl on many Ottawa roads Tuesday as striking workers returned to the picket lines and held a rally where they received support from the CUPE national union.

Although the city says it will take up to 12 weeks before all local buses are back on the roads, the union says that's not necessarily true.

Concerns about Ottawa's seniors

After 42 days, there's rising concern the strike is jeopardizing the safety of Ottawa's senior citizens.

The seniors' advisory committee is the latest to call on the federal government to declare OC Transpo an essential service and get buses in the capital back up and running.

"We're worried about one day someone will come to an apartment and find a senior dead or whatever because they haven't been able to get out for their appointments," said Marg Coll.

"There was a chap who had to have dialysis and he wasn't getting it."

Distress calls in the city have more than doubled since the strike began, exhausting the city's emergency strike fund.

Still, city officials say those who need help, or can offer a ride to a fellow citizen, should call the city's 3-1-1 hotline.

While the city and the transit union traded counter-offers over the weekend, no agreement was made.

The city has now issued a media blackout on negotiations until a settlement is reached.