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York Region extends bus service plan deadline

File image of a YRT bus. CITYNEWS.

York Region has extended the Friday deadline for two of its bus contractors after both agreed to resume talks with the unions representing their workers.

Miller Transit and Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1587 agreed to head back to the bargaining table earlier this week, and now has until Wednesday to prepare a new bus service plan for the region as it negotiates with the union.

Veolia Transportation and ATU Local 113 will resume talks on Monday morning, the company said Friday afternoon.

Local 1587 rejected an earlier offer from Miller Transit on Jan. 6, and  Local 113 rejected an offer from Veolia Transportation on Tuesday.

The two companies and First Canada are involved in contract disputes in York Region.

Bus drivers and other employees have been on strike since Oct. 24, 2011, when contract talks between the three companies and their unions failed.

The strike, which affects about 60 per cent of bus routes in the region, has displaced about 44,000 riders.

Local 1587 represents Miller Transit and First Canada workers. Local 113 represents members from Veolia.

Earlier Friday, Veolia spokesperson Valerie Michael told CityNews that the company has submitted their service plan to the York Region municipality.

“We haven’t been involved in those discussions,” ATU Local 113 president Bob Kinnear told CityNews Friday.

According to a York Region spokesperson, Veolia has also asked a mediator to intervene. The company said the 10 a.m. Monday meeting time for resumed talks was the mediator’s earliest availability.

On Monday, York Region municipality terminated its contract with First Canada, and said it is looking for a replacement that will begin to provide services on one of the 29 northern York Region routes beginning Feb. 5 with service on other routes to come later.