Valley Metro and the local transit union have agreed to a 2.5 percent raise for the city’s bus drivers, mechanics and bus cleaners.

On top of this year’s raise, the workers will also receive pay hikes of 2.5 percent in 2018 and 2.75 percent in 2019, under recently approved contract amendments.

Carl Palmer, general manager of Valley Metro, released the figures Wednesday. The raises will add $32,200 to the expense of running the bus system this fiscal year, he said.

A leader with the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1493 called the raises “pretty decent” in light of revenue challenges reported by the city, the greatest local contributor to mass transit. “It’s not what everybody wanted, but considering what was put on the table to start with, it’s not a bad offer,” said Cliff Headrick, the Roanoke-based executive board member of local 1493. He said the union ratified the contract Nov. 17.

Roanoke’s tax forecasts don’t cover the protected cost of municipal services as they once did, city officials have said.

The bus system has 79 bus drivers, nine mechanics and two bus cleaners. This year’s raise is retroactive to July 1 and has been put into effect, officials said.

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Jeff Sturgeon covers business, banking, transportation and federal court. Phone: (540) 981-3251. Email: jeff.sturgeon@roanoke.com. Mail: 201 W. Campbell Ave., Roanoke, VA 24011.

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