TORONTO - A transit strike in Toronto has been averted with a last-minute deal that will spare commuters from a chaotic start to the work week.

The agreement was reached well after Sunday's 4 p.m. deadline and ended days of worry for the 1.5 million people that use Toronto's transit system every weekday.

The deal came after Bob Kinnear of the Amalgamated Transit Union gave the city little reason to be confident and warned that talks were going nowhere.

He had said two weeks of bargaining had achieved almost nothing.

Had a strike been called, 8,900 drivers and maintenance workers would have hit the picketlines on Monday morning.

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty had said on Friday that he would consider declaring Toronto's transit system an essential service, which would have forced workers back on the job.

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