First quarter results implementing new Hours of Service policy continue to show near 100 percent success rate


Full implementation of negotiated policy for bus operators showing significant level of compliance

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

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

New policy requires nine or 10 hours off between service days
TriMet and the ATU agreed on the new policy in early February 2013 that requires nine 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 selected when the policy was negotiated, a modified HOS policy was implemented for the period between March and May.

First Quarter results
For the first three months since full implementation, June through August, there have been 31 violations out of 53,969 work assignments. The majority of the policy violations were under 10 minutes. In all cases where violations occurred the operators had close to nine hours or more off before returning to work.

June 2013 results
Out of 16,666 work assignments 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.
  • Eight of the violations were 5 minutes or less.
  • Three violations related to a 1-2 minute programming error that was quickly corrected.
  • Two 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 nine hours and 41 minutes of rest between assignments.

July 2013 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.
  • Six of the 11 violations were nine minutes or less short of receiving the required rest period.
  • 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 nine hours and 17 minutes off between assignments instead of the 10 hours required for a regular operator.

August 2013 results
Out of the 18,824 assignments, there were only four violations:

  • The violations range from eight minutes to 26 minutes short of receiving the required period of rest which is nine hours for Extra Board Operators and 10 hours for regular bus operators.
  • One violation involved an operator late to the garage because he worked late to fill service when another operator became ill on the road. This operator violated the hours of service policy by 26 minutes and received nine hours and 34 minutes off between shifts rather than the required 10 hours.
  • Three violations were the result of operators returning late to the garage and submitting time slips that were processed later.

“This new policy is an important step in helping operators be more rested and alert, which enhances the overall safety of our bus service,” said TriMet Executive Director of Safety, Security and Environmental Services Harry Saporta. “We appreciate the continued collaboration of the ATU as we continue to refine implementation of the policy.”

Next steps
TriMet management will continue to monitor compliance with the policy and follow up with operators as needed to provide reinforcement as necessary. TriMet and the ATU continue to work cooperatively on aspects of this important safety policy.