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MBTA LogoFor the first three months of 2016, MBTA overtime expenses, rates of absenteeism and dropped trips were all down sharply, according to MBTA Chief Administrator Brian Shortsleeve.

Spending on operating overtime dropped by 50 percent compared to the same period last year, and 27 percent compared with the daily average for 2015. The average actual overtime expense per day was $113,000 for the first quarter of 2016, down from a daily average of $154,000 in 2015, and $226,000 from January through March 2015. The actual number of overtime hours was down 48 percent from this time last year. Operating overtime spending fell $10.2 million in the first quarter as compared to the previous year’s first quarter (from $20.5 million to $10.3 million).

A new leave and attendance policy was instituted on January 1st. It requires employees to follow strict call-in procedures and for managers to carefully log unscheduled absences, with FMLA denials in cases where employees fail to provide timely and complete medical certification. Data shows the percentage of employees taking days off using the federal Family and Medical Leave Act is down by 20 percent. Thanks, in large part to the new policy, the MBTA restored 10,000 days of worker productivity. The total number of work days lost to unscheduled absences is down nearly 25 percent compared to this time last year, from 40,296 days lost in the first quarter of last year to 30,300 days lost in this year’s first quarter. The average number of unscheduled days per employee dropped from 6.2 to 4.6 – a 25.5 percent decline.

Bus and train operator unscheduled absenteeism rates also dropped by 28 percent overall compared to all of FY15. Full-time bus operator unscheduled absences were down 31 percent, while weekday dropped trips for buses were down 40 percent. Weekday rail dropped trips were down 33 percent.

These reductions indicate progress in ongoing efforts to bend the MBTA’s long-term spending curve from the red toward achieving a balanced budget, said Chief Administrator Shortsleeve.

“This shows our efforts to make the T a more efficient and productive organization are succeeding,” said Shortsleeve. “Controlling costs allows us to invest more into the system, which will result in improved service for our customers.”

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