This study was undertaken to identify the incidence of and critical issues associated with a practice undertaken by some transit agencies of matching a particular bus with a specific driver or group of drivers. The results are based on telephone interviews with representatives of 118 privately- and publicly-managed transit agencies that operate 25 or more vehicles. Proponents of the vehicle-driver matching concept contend that a driver who operates the same vehicle every working day, or nearly every day, will feel greater responsibility for, and take better care of, "their" bus. The driver will become well acquainted with the particular operating characteristics of their assigned vehicle and will be more likely to detect the first signs of equipment failure before a roadcall becomes necessary. Proponents suggest that matching operators with vehicles will, therefore, result in better driver morale, reduced maintenance costs, increased number of vehicle-miles between roadcalls, fewer missed runs, fewer accidents and other benefits. Nearly half (47 percent) of the agencies interviewed presently match, or have matched in the past, buses with blocks of work or operators. This is generally an historical practice, implemented with few known problems. Benefits most frequently cited by practitioners include better reporting of vehicle defects, better driver morale, reduced maintenance costs, more miles between roadcalls, and improved vehicle appearance. Public agencies and privately-managed are equally likely to match buses to operators or blocks of work. Agencies with fewer than 100 buses are more likely to engage in the practice than larger agencies. The practice is most prevalent in the Sunbelt states and Pacific Northwest where agencies are more likely to park their buses on the diagonal on open lots, and less prevalent in New England, New York/New Jersey, and the midwest where agencies are more likely to park their buses in long columns inside storage garages. Reasons given most frequently by the sample agencies for not matching vehicles with blocks of work or operators included garage/yard layout and attendant hostling costs, operators delaying reporting vehicle defects until the day before their regularly scheduled days off, difficulty balancing mileage among the fleet, discontent among younger operators at agencies with a mix of older and newer buses, concerns about passenger discrimination (i.e., Title VI) and the perception that vehicle matching makes little difference to driver morale or maintenance costs. Approximately 15 percent of the sample agencies have abandoned their past practices to vehicle matching for these reasons.

  • Corporate Authors:

    Comsis Corporation

    11501 Georgia Avenue
    Wheaton, MD  United States  20902

    Urban Mass Transportation Administration

    Office of Technical Assistance & Safety, 400 7th Street, SW
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Authors:
    • Kuzmyak, R
    • Wells, M
    • Gerlach, E
  • Publication Date: 1985-9

Media Info

  • Features: Appendices; Figures; Tables;
  • Pagination: 56 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00455066
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: UMTAMA-06-0049-85-17
  • Contract Numbers: DOT-TSC-1753
  • Files: TRIS, USDOT
  • Created Date: May 31 1988 12:00AM