Metropolitan Transportation Authority

Metro-North Railroad: Productivity of Railroad Car Maintenance Employees

Metro-North Railroad provides commuter passenger service between New York City and certain counties in New York State and Connecticut. We observed Metro-North employees while they were engaged in certain maintenance tasks. On average, the employees we observed were idle for 39 percent of their scheduled workday. Employees were idle because they had to wait for parts, search for tools, and wait for the trains that were to be serviced. The employees also took longer meal breaks than allowed and often finished their assigned work before the end of the shift. Metro-North officials told us that a certain amount of downtime is unavoidable in any maintenance operation, but agreed that the extent of downtime we identified was excessive. If just 10 percent of this downtime was eliminated, Metro-North's payroll costs could be reduced by almost $1 million a year. 94-S-37