Mar 4, 2009

Too Much Money At DRT?

Along with the regular routes DRT operates special student runs called High School Specials. These school runs follow a predetermined schedule and route. They normally operate directly to and from the high schools. The reason for the runs is to take the pressure off the regular service. The regular service is not sufficient enough to handle the high volume of student traffic.

Mostly part-time drivers have been used to operate the school runs in the past. The reason that part-time employees were used is that when there is a P.A. day,  March Break, Christmas Break or exams, the work is simply cancelled and employees are either assigned other work or not used at all if other work is not available.

For quite a while now, many of the school runs have been covered by full-time employees as part of their 8 hour crews. This means that when the above mentioned school breaks occur, there are a lot more drivers sitting around on standby. Full-timers are guaranteed 40 hours of pay per week. An example of the excess cost is the March Break. During March Break the schools are closed for 6 days. In Ajax and Pickering there will approximately be 22 hours of dead time for the full-time drivers per each of the 6 days with nothing to do when they could be providing service on regular runs. If part time drivers were doing the school runs, there would be no wasted time as they are simply given other work or told not to report for the time that the schools are closed. Over a school year, this adds up.

It makes one wonder if DRT has more money than it needs.


Calvin Henry-Cotnam said...

Perhaps you can fill me in if I am missing something, but isn't this a bit like what the TTC does by having "extra" operators (when available!) on shifts without being assigned to runs? They fill in where needed during their 8-hour shift.

Some critics have denounced this as being wasteful, but in the big picture, it actually saves the TTC money. On most days, these drivers end up driving most, if not all, of their 8-hour shift. Without them, they would have to use on-call operators which is more costly as they have to be paid more (time and a half, or double time, I'm not sure which). Having someone being paid straight-time, but occasionally spending an hour or two not doing much ends up being cheaper than using on-call staff.

Andy said...

Calvin, you are right about having drivers on standby. What is happening here is not same as standby. This is about using your labour force efficiently. My choice of using the word standby to to describe the situation was not the best choice.

In this situation drivers are sitting around for hours doing nothing and getting paid for it. DRT does not have the same work rules that the TTC has. There are a lot less restriction rules on the work force. It is a simple thing to say to part-time employees stay home today your work is not available. These drivers only get paid what they do and there is no guarantee to paid a minimum number of hours.

The Board Of Education on their web site publish all school breaks, early dismissals etc. DRT knows in advance on what days there will be no school.

DRT has a number of former TTC experienced employees like myself. We have pointed out ways to use the work force more efficient but
they won't listen.

Anonymous said...

I have a question about the school runs, When I was driving my son to school so this was about 2 years ago I would routinely see a bus going to Dennis O'Connor coming north on Salem and it was jammed with kids and they were standing on the stairs even, the bus was crammed.

The rules state a bus can not move if anyone is standing in front of the yellow line.

Is this still happening ?


Andy said...

Karem, it is the law that the driver's view to right must not be obstructed. I have heard DRT supervisors on the radio telling drivers to move the passengers back.

On the yellow school bus, all passengers must be seated. From your description of the "jammed" load it would take two or more school buses to handle the load that DRT does with one. Now if only the adults were making use of public transit like the students do.