Muni expands driver corps to reduce overtime

Overtime spending at San Francisco’s transportation agency is creeping back up again.

The controller’s annual report on overtime spending said the Municipal Transportation Agency had budgeted $39.2 million in overtime spending for the 2013-2014 fiscal year, but spent $55.6 million, a $16.5 million difference.

The SFMTA tops other city agencies in overtime spending last year including the fire, police, public health and sheriff departments.

Most of the overtime came from the transit side of operations, which includes overtime work from Muni operators, train controllers and transit supervisors. At least 65 percent of overtime hours worked were from the transit division, the report said. Over the 10-year history of overtime usage by the transit agency, spending had increased by 86 percent.

In the 2012-2013 fiscal year, the transit agency’s overtime spending did see a slight dip.

Last month transit officials from each division presented an overview on overtime spending to the SFMTA’s Policy and Governance Committee showing what officials used overtime for.

Some of items listed for example in the Sustainable Streets Division including extra parking control officers, emergency work related to the storms in December.

An ongoing operator shortage, a number of special events like the America’s Cup, concert events or postseason baseball games, have all attributed to the overtime spending in the last couple of years for Muni, said SFMTA spokesman Paul Rose.

At many of these events, the transit agency provides extra bus or light-rail service. One less overtime driver that the transit agency does not have to worry about anymore is shuttling Muni riders to Candlestick for 49er games.

With the operator shortage, Rose said earlier this month to SF Bay that the transit agency graduated at least 40 drivers in the last three months.

He said the transit agency expects to have a full bus operating staff by April and a full staff by May, which should help reduce some of the overtime.