BROAD CHANNEL, QUEENS - Access-A-Ride drivers who transport the city's disabled will return to work Thursday after the union approved a contract.

Drivers and mechanics of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1181-1061 signed off on the deal in Queens Wednesday. Details of the contract were not immediately available, but workers had been demanding higher wages and better benefits.

A tentative deal was reached Monday between the union and four of the companies that run the service for the MTA. Union Vice President Tommy Mullins said a federal mediator was key to reaching the deal.

As many as 20,000 riders use the service daily. Many said they are happy to be able to again leave their homes to shop and keep medical appointments.

While the vans are expected to be back on the road Thursday, union officials said some vehicles may need to be serviced, temporarily lessening availability.

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