Union ratifies deal, ending York Region transit strike
The bitter transit strike that left York Region residents without full bus service for more than three months has ended.
Employees with Miller Transit ended the dispute on Saturday afternoon when they voted to accept a new contract offer.
The workers, members of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1587, voted 80 per cent in favour of the new contract.
Union president Ray Doyle said there are still several hurdles to clear before commuters hop back onto YRT buses.
He said the union hopes to have maintenance workers preparing the buses as soon as possible. Drivers must also complete a re-training program.
"They will do that and once that is all complete then we will get the buses back on the road," Doyle told reporters Saturday.
The Miller employees operate 51 routes in York Region's Southeast Division.
The ratification comes days after ATU Local 113, the union representing operators and mechanics with York BRT, voted in favour of their latest offer.
The deal was struck with Veolia Transportation, which operates the region's Viva buses.
"Today's ratification brings an end to a prolonged strike that has affected our commuters and residents, but we are now moving forward to restore transit service throughout York Region," York Region chairman Bill Fisch said in a news release.
York Region also said Saturday it would announce details of free rides some time next week. York vowed to offer the rides as a way to appease frustrated commuters affected by the lengthy strike.
Earlier this week, TOK Transit, a subsidiary of Tokmakjian Inc., was awarded a four-year contract to operate York's northern routes. It inked the deal after region officials terminated a contract with First Canada last week.
It also said it planned to hire 120 bus operators, mechanics, maintenance, and management staff to operate the routes.
Buses will begin rolling on the routes Saturday, Feb. 4.