Unexplained absences for Muni operators on the rise again 

After a brief drop, unexplained absence rates for Muni operators rose again during the third quarter of this fiscal year.

Muni operators logged a 13.7 percent unexplained absence rate from January to March, a rise from the 12.9 percent recorded during the second quarter of this fiscal year, but a drop from the high of 14.8 percent tallied in the first quarter. Unexplained absences include sick leave, suspensions, jury duty, unpaid loans to union, and several other categories.

A recent audit of the Municipal Transportation Agency, which operates Muni, noted that unexplained operator absences were a major contributor to the department’s funding problems.

At 13.7 percent, Muni’s transit operators were well above the department’s stated goal of 10.2 percent for unexplained absence. When operators miss a shift, Muni has to either use a full-time worker, and thus pay overtime costs, or cut a shift.

Of the entire MTA, only parking control officers, with a mark of 14.2 percent, had a higher unexplained absence rate in third quarter of this fiscal year. Despite the high rate of unexplained operator absences, the agency still posted record on-time performance levels for the quarter.

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Will Reisman

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