Part-time Labor, Work Rules, and Transit Costs
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Part-time Labor, Work Rules, and Transit Costs

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    • NTL Classification:
      NTL-PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION-Bus Transportation
    • Abstract:
      This report examines two major issues: (1)the impact of labor union work rules on bus transit operating costs and (2)the magnitude of cost savings that can be expected from the use of part-time drivers. These issues are examined within the context of finding ways to reduce transit deficits. The work rules analyzed include restrictions on part-time labor, changes in spread premiums and limitations on maximum spread time for drivers. Labor costs were estimated using the RUCUS automated scheduling program which was applied to actual service schedules from five U.S. transit properties. The analysis yielded cost estimates for a total of 45 combinations of work rules and service schedules, and revealed that (1) paying spread time after 10 hours, rather than 12 boosts labor cost by 4% to 7%, with negligible effect on number of drivers required; (2)the effect of reducing the maximum spread time is highly sensitive to the peak/base ratio and the interval between the morning and evening peak; and (3)savings fromt he use of part-time labor, under favorable conditions, will be in the range of 3% to 8% but may be cancelled out by wage increases necessary to secure union approval of the change. The report concludes that work rule changes are no panacea for trancit deficits; the principal source of deficits is the recision to maintain low fares and low- patronage routes. Appendices include a glossary of scheduling terminology and tables and simplified methods which can be used to estimate the cost effects of work rule changes in a given transit property.
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