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Front Page » Transportation » 20% of Miami-Dade Transit’s bus drivers absent every day

20% of Miami-Dade Transit’s bus drivers absent every day

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Written by on May 9, 2017

20% of Miami-Dade Transit’s bus drivers absent every day

Twenty percent of Miami-Dade Transit’s bus drivers are absent every day, all the time, which costs the county money, according to Mayor Carlos Giménez.
Miami-Dade’s contract with the Transportation Workers Union (TWU) almost incentivizes absences, the mayor said May 4 at Commission Chair Esteban Bovo Jr.’s policy council meeting.
Now, the county wants to outsource little-used bus routes that yield too little revenue.
TWU representative Clarence Washington told commissioners the union was not invited to a March 30 meeting with the administration. Now, the administration, along with transit chief Alice Bravo, is to meet with the union at 1 p.m. today (5/11) to discuss outsourcing buses with low ridership and to negotiate driver absenteeism.
Mr. Washington said a March meeting was forced on the union. He said he was informed the bus routes would be outsourced because of low ridership.
“We have an absentee rate of 20% that’s causing a lot of overtime,” Mayor Giménez said. “We need to take the routes that do not generate revenue and contract them out.”
No transit worker will be laid off, the mayor vowed.
Mr. Washington said the union feels contracting out routes won’t help. “Transportation to the public is no different from [the fire or police department]. It’s a service we must provide for the public. The small community of routes [being discussed] are not supposed to ride lots of people. They say we’re not making any money on these routes.”
Mr. Washington said the union has “upwards of 40 people working” on those routes and they’re not supposed to, creating a manpower issue.
“We have a number of routes with very little ridership,” the mayor said. “The average cost per hour is $130. A private company will run at $50 an hour.” He said the contracted bus firm would use the same system for complaints and any county contract with a private operator could be halted at any time.
“No transit system makes money, but we can reduce the loss,” the mayor said, in agreement with Mr. Washington, who also said union workers have been under attack so much that they’re not even able to provide the service.
Dennis Moss asked Mr. Washington why he couldn’t be ready to meet today. “We don’t think we can complete going through the information,” Mr. Washington said, adding that management gave the union detailed reports.
The county plans to discontinue three bus routes that are mostly circulators and never exceed 20 passengers throughout the day, Ms. Bravo said. “Our goal through these efficiencies is to save [money] on overtime. Overall, our anticipation is that these changes will have a total annualized cost savings of $23.7 million.”
Ms. Bravo said the circulators complement the county’s transit service. “They help us focus our resources on the longer-distance commutes.”
Mr. Washington said the union feels contracting out circulator routes won’t help people the buses are supposed to move.
Mr. Moss voted ‘No’ on Mr. Bovo’s resolution to use savings from bus route changes that could take effect Nov. 19 to add other transit, saying he wants to hear the outcome of today’s meeting. A shift in fund use would require a full commission vote.

15 Responses to 20% of Miami-Dade Transit’s bus drivers absent every day

  1. DC Copeland

    May 10, 2017 at 8:04 am

    Please tell me the bus union does not do the hiring. Otherwise, you will have bus drivers forever with at least 20% never working. The idea of taking that $24 million savings and redirecting it into Metrorail and other forms of mass transit is a great idea and I’m surprised anybody on the commission would be against it.

    • Looker123

      May 11, 2017 at 11:54 am

      FYI … they have operators called board operators ! They’re the back up If the normal operator doesn’t show ! Buses are still rolling. He’s taking away from these people pockets ! They have families too ! Bills and etc ! Cost of living in Miami is ridiculous! Barely surviving on little to nothing checks! If he wants to save money ! Tell him to take a lower paycheck home ! I bet he won’t ! He’s got the funds for all that ! Without having to cut routes.

  2. Ronald stewart

    May 10, 2017 at 10:56 pm

    It’s a shame that Miami-Dade residents pays taxes so that the government can make a better life for them by creating decent paying jobs and by providing good services. You have Miami-Dade Transit which have been here over 40 years providing decent jobs and good services now your leaders want to give the tax payers money to one individual and in return he gives you low paying jobs and poor service. Is that what Miami-Dade is all about now? Contracting out and creating low paying jobs.. They say that 20% of bus operators take off everyday but they don’t say what codes they’re counting to get that percentage. You’ll be surprised if you ask them. The Mayor might not even know. Ask yourself, how can a private company make money on a low passenger riding route? How much is the contract? How did they arrive at that savings? How much will they pay their operators? Any commissioner that votes for this can not be voting in the best interest of the public because the public is not paying taxes to see its city go backwards. They tried contracting out with greyhound some years back. Didn’t Work.

  3. Jose Novoa

    May 11, 2017 at 2:21 pm

    I used to work for limousines of south Florida. As a trolley driver. They under pay you at $ 12HR. The minimum wage per FL law as a bus driver is 14.29HR. The mayor won’t speak of this. This company is very unfair to its employees always threatening to fire them if they don’t show up. If you call in sick you loose a days pay. Don’t believe there benefit package it’s fake. Trust me. Miami Dade citizens will pay a hard price. That’s why I left this company. Don’t trust them you will regret ever hiring them to transport Miami Dade citizens…

    • Ronald stewart

      May 13, 2017 at 9:20 am

      It’s amazing how the commissioner’s can vote on an agenda item and they don’t have all the facts.have the termed out commissioner’s sold out? Was the bidding process for these routes being contracted out waived by the commissioner’s? If so why? These are questions that needs to be addressed.

  4. Wallace Bray

    May 11, 2017 at 3:38 pm

    If the top 1% were paying their fare share in taxes we wouldn’t be having this discussion. Everytime the wealthy get a tax cut we working people have to make up the difference by paying more tax and cutting service. So, let’s stop fighting amongst ourselves and make the rich pay.

    • Dee

      June 7, 2017 at 1:02 pm

      the top 1% pay nearly 1/2 of ALL FEDERAL INCOME TAXES – repeat that to yourself slowly – so you understand – I am Not anywhere near the top 1%. I work for a living and pay my taxes but I understand that “taking” more of someone else’s money is not the answer. Eliminate fraud and cheaters – that will help most of all.

  5. R PULIDO

    May 11, 2017 at 5:45 pm

    What are the BUS RUTE?

    Bus on demand will be solution. Similar to Uber.

  6. DadeCountyLady

    May 11, 2017 at 7:04 pm

    Half of Miami Dade County ride with free bus passes.But every time there’s a money issue the mayor want to make some cuts in transit routes and workers pay. Bus and Train operators have families to feed and take care of too.

  7. Herman Forte

    May 12, 2017 at 1:25 am

    Get Uber to run the Buses and get rid of all the Lazy Bums…. Protect my Tax Dollars

    • Ronald stewart

      May 13, 2017 at 9:12 am

      How are they protecting your tax dollars by giveing your tax dollars to 1 individual who in return create lower paying jobs for your community?

  8. Ronald stewart

    May 13, 2017 at 9:39 am

    Susan danseyar should do a story on how Miami-Dade County has blown the 1/2 cent TAX to build the north and south corridor now they want to contract out routes to save money to build the north and south corridors. THE 1/2 CENT TAX WAS FOR THAT..is that right?
    How much contracting out has the mayor done since he’s been in office? The man is selling our county away with no know improvments to our communities.

    • Kathy peacock

      May 17, 2017 at 4:13 pm

      As a former Bus Operator for Miami Dade County I agree with this whole heartly. I drove all over Dade county bouncing up and down in that seat in hot polyester fabric pants 90° weather with no a.c., on pot hole filled streets in bumper to bumper Traffic for 16hr day because At the end of my shift I was given a directive to make another round trip because they did not have a relief driver for me another(4) hrs. Now I missed lunch had to hold my bladder until I could get to a clean rest room that was not out of order all while my herniated disk that I got from the constant jarring in the bus that some time causes me to miss work when I have to go to my works man comp Dr to adjust to relieve the pain. When I am lucky enough to get an appointment I always see several of my co-workers theyre the same problems also with dislocated vetebraes,sholder blades and slipped disked, torn meniscus and various driving related injuries. So yes we are absent but over the years some of us work in pain, I am lucky I still work for Transit but I Thank God I no longer drive but I still have to see my chiropractor at Aventure Wellness center.

  9. THE REAL DEAL

    May 18, 2017 at 12:23 pm

    MIAMI DADE TRANSIT DEPENDS UPON THE ”FOOT SOLIDERS” BUS AND TRAIN OPERATORS.
    WE MAKE THE SYSTEM WORK, BUT WE ARE BLAMED FOR EVERY LITTLE OR BIG PROMBLEM.
    HOW MANY DAYS, MEETINGS, VOTES, OR SCHELDES DO THE MAYOR, OR COUNTY COMMISIONERS MISS.
    THE COMMISIONERS HAVE OFFICES IN THIER DISTRICTS THAT THEY NEVER OR HARDLY VISIT.
    WHEN ARE YOU GOING THE TRANSIT OPERATORS WITH THE RESPECT AND ACKLODGEMENT THAT WE RESPECT.
    WHERE IS THE END FOR OUR FORCED CONTRIBUTION TO THE COUNTY AND OUR RETRO PAY?
    TAKING BREAD OUT OF OUR MOUTH…..LET’S TALK ABOUT THAT!

  10. ray

    June 6, 2017 at 10:35 am

    in a few years buses will be driverless. when that happens, the societal problems will be much bigger. imagine the unemployment rate when there’s no need for bus or truck delivery drivers, uber or cab drivers …
    all this talk about “make america great again”, and decreasing unemployment is, at best, very short term. no one’s talking about the very near future.

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