JGL Depot Information Center

When it Seems Impossible, We Must Find A Way!


Fixing Schedules

Posted by sendmail156 on August 16, 2015 at 10:15 AM

“Why would the union accept these schedules?”

“Why can’t the union reject these schedules and get new schedules?”

“How come these schedules do not have adequate pull out time, running time, swing-time, layover time (3 minute layover) or pull-in time?”

“How come these schedules do not have enough of the RDOs that we want, early runs that pay a lot of money, with early runs on weekends or schedules that are operator friendly?”

With each pick we hear operators ask these same questions when it comes to schedules. So here is an attempt to address these remarks.

Under the terms of our contract with the MTA/NYCT, the Authority has the right to set schedules. They always did, and will continue to do so, until the language in our contract changes.

Despite what some may say about “how the union used to control the schedules,” that was never the case. We work for the Authority, and whether we believe what they do makes sense or not, the TA manages and sets schedules. It’s like that basically in every bus, train, commuter rail and airline system in the country. We operate the buses, they set the schedules. See CBA 1.6a

Schedules, the Contract and Making Them Work

Under the contract the union has a 20-day review period, and then meets with management to”discuss issues” we have with the pick. After all is said and done, the Union may be able to swap some RDO’s, occasionally move relief points, adjust a pull out or pull-in, or change when an operator will swing. However, when it comes to pullout time (ten minutes), swings (30 minutes guaranteed), RDO’s, work hours, running time, etc., it is the TA’s to manage. We can suggest changes but that’s it.

When it comes to making the schedules “work,” that’s a different story. That falls squarely on us. Often, we don’t use the tools we have at our disposal (e.g., contract language, TA rules and policies, City and State laws, etc.) to make the changes we want and need. When we cut corners we justify management’s schedules. We let the pressure of the job dictate our ways, rather than operate buses like professional and responsible union members who get paid by the minute to do their job.

When bad schedules “work” it is only because we make them work. From reporting to the Yard Dispatcher earlier than your Report Time, to operating ahead of the schedule just to get to the end of the line, we are making the schedules “work.” Complaining about the schedules and making them work, will definitely not change the schedules.

An Everyday Day Challenge

Your job is to report on time, and operate the bus in the safest manner possible. With new challenges and requirements on the road due to Vision Zero, and new technology (GPS/Bus Trek) we have to adapt the way we operate our buses. If a run is unrealistic, then don't find a way to make it work. Talk to your co-workers on the line, your union rep and find a way to fix it.

Do not let management pressure you to operate in an unsafe manner, no matter what Console, Bus Trek, or the Schedules dictate. Organize with your co-workers, rather than talking about them to dispatchers and managers, and use our union power to effect the change you want. Trying to outdo the schedule on your own will get you no where, take your time and do things right.

Venting about the schedules is normal, it is how we deal with the frustration of the job. But changing a single schedule is no small task, changing the way schedules are made is massive and it will require great unity and discipline by our members. Let’s figure out how to get there as a union so that we can improve our working environment. Let’s be safe out there and return home healthy.


Without limitation upon the exercise of any of their statutory powers or responsibilities, the Authorities shall have the unquestioned right to exercise all normally accepted management prerogatives, including the right to fix operating and personnel schedules, impose layoffs, determine workloads, arrange transfers, order new work assignments, and issue any other directive intended to carry out their managerial responsibilities to operate the transit facilities safely, efficiently, and economically.

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