Jun 27, 2008

Summer of the car?

 At DRT, in order of seniority, drivers pick their work every two months. This is common in public transit and gives management an opportunity to change schedules, move and plan their manpower needs. This is know as a "sign up" and the work that the drivers pick are known as "crews". These crews, usually include work that are on a stand by. Transit needs standby drivers because, if a bus does not enter service, the system is considered broken. In transit the buses must go on time. It's not like some industries when an employee will double up jobs.

It would appear that DRT has found a way to get customers off of the bus and back into their cars. It used to be that in Durham west there were always two or three standby drivers in the morning and one in the afternoon, to ensure that if there was an unexpected problem with a driver not coming to work, a sickness, etc., someone could cover the run that was in trouble. Well, for the latest sign up for July and August, DRT has cut the standby crews down to one. And to compound the problem, the crew is only available for about the first forty minutes rather than the couple of hours they used to be available. The standby in the morning has been combined with a schedule run and the driver has to leave to start runs shortly before six o'clock.

On Wednesday, June 25, there was a vacancy created by a driver unable to come to work. The standby driver took over the crew but by the time the on duty supervisor could get someone to come in to cover the now open runs on the standby crew, the first two cycles were missed. The second cycle was actually started 15 minutes late and customers were wandering down to highway 2 looking for buses to take to the GO Train or other destinations. These gaps in service become more noticeable when the headways are thirty minutes, such as DRT operates in the rush hour.

Unless DRT is willing to rectify the situation, this is obviously going to continue to happen (as many drivers predicted when they saw the cutback) and will undoubtedly have many customers looking for other ways to get to work.

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