Officials with the light rail that serves the Phoenix metropolitan area say the potential for a work stoppage by New Year’s Eve has been averted.

The Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1433 and light rail operations contractor Alternate Concepts agreed Friday to continue labor negotiations under existing work conditions.

ATU and ACI have agreed to submit their issues to binding arbitration beginning early next year.

The collective bargaining agreement between the ATU and ACI expired on June 30, leading to two 90-day extensions. The second extension is set to end on Dec. 31.

Valley Metro officials say the light rail serves nearly 50,000 riders daily.

The first 20-miles of light rail opened in December 2008. Six light rail extensions are under way that will create a 57-mile system by 2032.