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Rail News: Financials

MBTA trims overtime expenses, absenteeism

In the first four months of 2016, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) has cut overtime expenses by nearly 45 percent compared with expenses in the same period last year.

At the same time, there was a 27 percent drop in per-day overtime expenses compared with the daily average for all of 2015, MBTA officials said in a press release. The total overtime expense in 2015 was $56.3 million, and the agency aims to cut that amount by 25 percent this year.

Overtime hours worked were down 43 percent for the first four months of 2016 compared with hours in the same period a year ago. Some measures that the MBTA has taken to rein in overtime costs include direct management approvals of overtime via signed timesheets, work summary reports to verify work productivity and tracking monthly overtime spending for review and discussion.

"We will be able to invest more into the system for pay-go capital and maintenance initiatives, such as upgrading old technology and winter resiliency work on rail and signals, by controlling operating expenses and continuing on a path to a balanced budget," said MBTA Chief Administrator Brian Shortsleeve.

Meanwhile, unscheduled absence days per employee fell 27 percent in the first four months of 2016 compared with last year. These reductions mean less trips are canceled.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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