01/26/2012 04:10 EST | Updated 03/27/2012 05:12 EDT

York transit strike almost over

The lengthy transit strike in York Region is rapidly coming to an end, with two private companies making major headway Thursday towards restoring transit service on dozens of bus routes.

On Thursday, unionized transit workers ratified a deal from Veolia, a private company that operates five Viva bus routes in York Region.

Seventy-seven per cent of ATU Local 113 members voted in favour of the deal they had been offered.

After hearing his fellow workers had approved a new deal with Veolia, bus driver Michael Francis said he was "happy to go back to work, it's been a long and hard fight."

Until Thursday’s vote, the Veolia workers had been on strike for the past three months.

Bob Kinnear, the head of ATU Local 113, told CBC News that Veolia’s routes should be fully operational in just over a week’s time.

Later Thursday Miller Transit reached a tentative deal with ATU Local 1587, which the union will arrange for its members to vote on Saturday..

Miller Transit operates 51 transit routes for the region.

If Miller workers accept the new deal the region's public transportation should be back to normal by Feb. 4, the municipality said.

The workers from Veolia and Miller Transit walked off the job on Oct. 24, along with employees from First Canada, a bus company that York Region recently terminated its contract with.

York Region announced Thursday that it had struck a four-year deal with TOK Transit Ltd., to restore service to the routes that First Canada previously operated.

TOK Transit Ltd. had served as a transit contractor in York Region from 2003 to 2010.