Results show 99+ percent success rate implementing new Hours of Service policy for bus operators


Full implementation of negotiated policy took effect June 3

TriMet and the Amalgamated Transit Union’s new negotiated Interim Hours of Service policy for bus operators was fully implemented in June, and results show that implementation was better than 99 percent. The policy is “interim” as it was negotiated outside the three-year Working Wage Agreement; TriMet and the ATU continue to meet to refine the policy in preparation for final inclusion in the 2012-2015 contract.

The Interim Hours of Service policy for bus operators was developed to address the issue of “double-backs” where operators took just a few hours off between service days. TriMet will add 11 new operator positions in the Fiscal Year 2014 budget at a cost of about $1 million to implement the policy.

New policy requires 9 or 10 hours off between service days
TriMet and the ATU agreed on the new policy in early February 2013 that requires 9 hours off between each day’s assignment for “extra board” or standby bus operators, and 10 hours off for operators who work scheduled assignments. About 85 percent of bus operators work scheduled assignments. As operator assignments had already been made when the policy was negotiated, a modified HOS policy was implemented for that period between March and May.  

Full implementation in June 2013
Out of 16,666 work assignments in June there were 16 HOS violations:

  • 10 of the violations were the result of operators being delayed on their return to the garage and submitting time slips processed later that resulted in violations of the minimum time off before their next day’s assignment. The violations ranged between 1 minute and 19 minutes.
  • 8 of the violations were 5 minutes or less.
  • 3 violations related to a 1-2 minute programming error that was quickly corrected.
  • 2 violations were actual assignment errors.
  • One violation was related to the operator assisting with a bus trade.
  • The greatest violation was 19 minutes and allowed for 9:41 of rest between assignments.

July results:
Out of 18,479 work assignments there were 11 HOS violations:

  • 10 were the result of operators returning late to the garage and submitting time slips that were processed later.
  • 6 of the 11 violations were 9 minutes or less off from the previous work day.
  • One violation was related to transferring a bus to another operator
  • The most serious violation involved a 43 minute time slip issue where the operator was delayed returning to the garage and allowed only 9:17 hours off between assignments.

August results:
As of August 12, barring any unforeseen time slips that may be turned in late, there have been no HOS violations.

“There has been a tremendous effort to educate our operations team on implementing this new policy, and we believe that the policy results in safer operations for our operators, our riders and the public at large,” said TriMet Executive Director of Safety, Security and Environmental Services Harry Saporta. “We appreciate the collaboration of the ATU as we refine and improve implementation of the policy.” 

Next steps
Any violation of the policy is reported to all Operations executives, who direct and oversee appropriate follow up with managers and operators to reinforce the policy. Additionally, if an operator returns to the garage after their scheduled time, station management makes necessary changes to the following day’s assignment necessary to comply with the policy.