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MBTA Bus 2The MBTA continues to drive down overtime costs. Daily operating overtime expense for the first four months of 2016 was down nearly 45 percent compared to the same period last year, and rates of absenteeism and dropped trips have also seen significant declines, according to a presentation to the MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board today by Chief Administrator Brian Shortsleeve.

“This is a good indicator that our efforts to make the T a more efficient and productive organization are having a significant impact,” said Chief Administrator Shortsleeve. “We will be able to invest more into the system for pay-go capital and maintenance initiatives, such as upgrading old technology and winter resiliency work on rail and signals, by controlling operating expenses and continuing on a path to a balanced budget.”

In addition to the 44.6 percent decrease in operating overtime expense compared with the same period last year, there was a 27.5 percent decrease in per day overtime expense compared with the daily average for all of 2015. The total overtime expense for calendar year 2015 was $56.3 million, and the MBTA has set a goal of reducing overtime expenses by 25 percent in calendar year 2016.

Overtime hours worked were down 43 percent for the first four months (120 days) of the year compared to the same time last year. Overtime initiatives put in place to provide greater oversight include direct management approvals of overtime via signed timesheets, work summary reports to verify work productivity, and tracking monthly overtime spending for review and discussion of its effectiveness.

In addition, 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 Family and Medical Leave Act denials in cases where employees fail to provide timely and complete medical certification.

The percentage of MBTA employees using one or more days of the Family and Medical Leave Act time off provision was down 18 percent from the first 10 months of Fiscal Year 2016 compared to the full 2015 Fiscal Year. There was a 22 percent decrease in MBTA employees using five or more days of FMLA during that same period.

Unscheduled absence days per employee were down 27 percent in the first four months of 2016, compared to 2015. And 13,838 fewer work days were lost to unscheduled absences in the first four months of this year as were last year, an approximately 36 percent decrease.

Operator unscheduled absences were down 33 percent for the first four months of 2016, compared to the full 2015 Fiscal Year.

Reductions in absenteeism are having a direct impact on service. As a result, weekday bus dropped trips were down 40 percent.

Additional information on MBTA reform efforts can be found by visiting: http://www.mbta.com/about_the_mbta/MBTABackOnTrack/

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