OTTAWA -- OC Transpo drivers, mechanics, and garage attendants can look forward to wage increases over the next five years, as City Council ratifies a major deal with the transit operator's largest union.

City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to ratify a five-year deal with the Amalgamated Transit Union local 279.

It comes with wage increases of 8.55 per cent over five years, retroactive to April 1, 2020.

Under the terms of the agreement, employees will see their wages go up 1.5 per cent this year, 1.5 per cent in 2021, 1.75 per cent in 2022, 1.8 per cent in 2023, and 2 per cent in 2024.

Mechanics will see increases of $2.55 per hour between 2022 and 2024, while garage attendants will get an additional $1.01 to $1.10 per hour.

The agreement also comes with an extra $50 in vision care, up to $350 every two years, an extra $50 in the clothing allowance, and an additional $60 reimbursement every three years for the cost of a medical exam for a work-related driver's license.

The ratification comes amid a year of decreased revenue and ridership for OC Transpo. The City reported an $8 million deficit for the transit service in the first quarter of 2020, as people stopped taking the system during the COVID-19 pandemic. Ridership has plunged between 70 and 90 per cent.

Still, Councillor Allan Hubley, the chair of the city's transit commission, called the agreement "historic" when speaking to reporters Wednesday.

"It was fantastic. It's historic in the sense that it's five-year, we had to do the first-ever virtual in-camera meeting to get it done," Hubley said. "It protects the taxpayers, supports our ridership, and recognizes the great work of our employees."

The transit system will continue to see major changes over the next five years as stage two of LRT construction gets into full swing. The north-south Trillium Line extension is expected to be completed by 2022, and the eastern extention of the east-west Confederation Line to Trim Road is set to be finished by 2024. The western extension of the Confederation Line to Moodie Drive and Baseline Station is set to be finished by 2025.

The City is also still working with the Rideau Transit Group on solving issues that persist on the 12.5 kilometers of the Confederation Line between Tunney's Pasture and Blair stations.