Use of part-time operators (PTOs) has emerged as one of the most widely adopted, yet controversial, methods for productivity improvement. A typical transit agency will have about twice as many vehicles in operation during the peak hours as at midday. PTOs provide a simple, efficient way to staff those peak hour vehicles. Without PTOs, the agency must choose between two inefficient solutions: (1) Schedule long split runs or (2) Schedule short single-peak runs. Either solution means that the transit agency pays for more labor hours than it uses. Transit unions have opposed the use of PTOs. The part-time labor concept does produce lower costs. PTOs are reliable, and the negative effects on full time operators do not appear to have been large. The evidence is that the bargaining concessions made to obtain part time labor have been as large as the PTL savings. Implication for research is that more work is needed on this topic. Implication for transit agencies is that unusual care must be used in evaluating the dollar cost of any givebacks made to win PTOs. For agencies that already have low pay/platform ratios, attention to absentee policy and extraboard staffing will probably give larger savings with less danger of costly bargaining tradeoffs. The best way to forecast part-time saving is via a detailed experimental run cut for the specific transit agency. A number of expansions of the part-time labor concept are worth exploring: Raising the percentage of PTOs allowed, using them for weekend work, and the option of allowing full-time operators to bid PTO positions temporarily.

  • Record URL:
  • Corporate Authors:

    University of California, Irvine

    Institute of Transportation Studies
    4000 Anteater Instruction and Research Building
    Irvine, CA  United States  92697
  • Authors:
    • Chomitz, K M
    • Giuliano, G
    • Lave, C A
  • Publication Date: 1985-7

Media Info

  • Pagination: 131 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00457371
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: DOT-I-86-17
  • Files: NTL, TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 31 1988 12:00AM