Metropolitan Transportation Authority

New York City Transit: Selected Overtime Practices

New York City Transit, which operates New York City's bus and subway systems, incurs about $170 million a year in overtime expenses. We examined the overtime payments made to train operators, conductors, subway station agents, bus operators, and bus maintenance workers. We found that additional actions need to be taken by Transit officials if they are to have reasonable assurance that all scheduled and unscheduled overtime is necessary, and all unscheduled overtime hours are worked as reported. For example, when we asked Transit officials to provide an analysis showing that work schedules with built-in overtime are the most cost-effective work schedules available for the employees, they were unable to provide any such analysis. We recommend that a comprehensive analysis be performed.

In addition, most of the overtime worked by the bus maintenance staff in our sample involved routine servicing and repairs, and there was no documentation indicating why these activities could not have been performed by the next shift of workers or postponed until the next day. We recommend that Transit officials follow up on the inadequately documented overtime hours. In addition, even though "extra" train operators and conductors are employed to reduce the amount of unscheduled overtime worked filling in for absent employees, during one of the two weeks we selected for detailed review, an average of 50 "extras" per day were reported as unassigned while a corresponding number of regular train operators and conductors worked unscheduled overtime each day. We recommend that Transit officials periodically analyze the use and deployment of extras to ensure that they are used and deployed in an efficient manner.

For a complete copy of Report 98-S-55 click here.
For a copy of the associated follow-up report click here.