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Author Topic: Bus Driver Pay with Contest!  (Read 4070 times)
RJ
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« on: March 23, 2011, 04:15:19 AM »

All -

A question came up in the thread about a recent bus accident regarding bus driver pay.  As Runcutter would say, there's as many different ways to pay a driver as there are ways to design transit routes.

Some carriers pay strictly by the hour, some pay hours/miles whichever is greater, some by the miles, some by "the run" (mostly line-haul, like Greyhound or transit), some by union rules, some a combination.  Transit pays differently than line-haul, which pays differently than charters, which pay differently than skoolies, which pay differently than mini-bus operators.

But most of them (including the airlines, too, for that matter), have some type of payroll system that has evolved from the railroads.  So you can thank/curse that industry for the crazy pay and dispatching systems that are in place for the passenger transportation industry.

Here is a sample of a charter carrier pay plan:

The charter outfit I worked for, probably the best paying non-Greyhound company on the West Coast, used the hours/miles/24 system.  This means that you got paid by the hour, or by the mile, whichever was greater, within every 24 hour time frame based on the call time required in advance of the charter's spot time.  (Spot time means the time you show up at the location to pick up your group - what time you "spot your bus" at the pick-up point.)  The "break-over point" was 300 miles, after you reached that point, you switched from the hourly rate to the mileage rate.  Per DOT HOS regs, maximum 16 hours on-duty time before required eight hours rest.  Eight-hour minimum, 16-hour maximum pay per day while overnight away from base.

So if your spot time was 0700, and you had a 20-minute drive from the yard to the spot, your call time was usually 0615 - that's when the 24-hour clock started for the charter.  (If you cannot figure out why the extra time, sell your bus.  Seriously, you're a hazard.)

Let's take a four-day charter from Fresno to Las Vegas to illustrate.  Vegas is about 400 miles, or roughly 8 hours driving time away.  Driver staying in same hotel as group just off the Strip.

Day One - 0615 Monday to 0615 Tuesday:

Spot coach on time at 0700, arrive Las Vegas 1630, park coach for day @ 1645, mileage 415.  Payroll hours = 10.5

Day Two - 0615 Tuesday to 0615 Wednesday:

Spot coach @ 0900 for two, three-hour casino shuttles.  Respot coach at 1800 for two-hour evening casino dinner show, park coach for day @ 2115, mileage 45.  Payroll hours = 9.75

Day Three - 0615 Wednesday to 0615 Thursday:

Spot coach at 0900 for two, three-hour casino shuttles.  Take coach to service facility to dump restroom, clean & fuel.  Park coach for day @ 1530, mileage 20.  Payroll hours = 6.5

Day Four - 0615 Thursday to 0615 Friday:

Spot coach as 0700, departure delayed 10 minutes due to lost senior couple.  Arrive Fresno @ 1715, park coach for the day at 1800, mileage 420.  Payroll hours = 11.5  Tip from group = $146


Now it's your turn:  If the driver's pay scale is $10/hr or $0.33 per mile, how much did he earn for this trip before taxes, not including tip?  All the information you need to solve this payroll puzzle is listed above, so pop open the calculator function on your laptop or smart phone and see what you come up with. 

Here's the contest: The first three correct answers from each major US/Canadian time zone (East, Central, Mountain, Pacific) wins a free JJ Keller logbook:

http://www.jjkeller.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_Driver%27s-Daily-Log-Book-with-No-DVIR--Stock_10151_-1_10551_73998

ALL ANSWERS MUST BE SENT TO ME VIA PM TO QUALIFY TO WIN!  (Click on the cloud-like PM icon on the left to send me your answer.)  Answers posted on the board in public will be disqualified (and assumed wrong!)  Be sure to include which time zone you're in along with your answer - no zone = no prize.  Such a deal, eh?   

Start crunching those numbers now, let's see how many of you can pay attention!  Winners will be announced on Friday, along with the correct answer.

FWIW & HTH. . .

 Wink

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RJ Long
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« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2011, 06:27:04 AM »

Darn, sounds too much like work!  

Russ, that's a good one, and really speaks to how hard it is for a driver to figure out his/her pay.  That's actually a pretty good schedule, the driver can stay on the same sleep pattern.  Add in a one nighttime trip, that would exceed Hours of Service regulations, but increase pay (and tip), and you see where some of the wrecks come from.  Or, just make it one trip that doesn't exceed HOS, but throws the driver's sleep pattern off.

When I was a young driver, a group of drivers/girlfriends borrowed a 4905 from the Company (with permission, of course), and paid one of the drivers (Hungry Benny) to drive, for a weekend trip to Montreal (from the Boston area).  Benny would not say "no" to work, ($) thus his nickname.  He had worked that Friday, and we drove up overnight.  We took turns sitting up front, talking to Benny, to help him keep awake.  Today, almost 40 years later, as I read NTSB accident reports, I think how lucky we were to survive.      

Transit's much easier, until you get spread time, which may or may not be at time and a half (depending on whether Pre-trip is included, or spread is Platform Hours only).  On some properties, Spread is paid on the "outside time", or first reporting time of the day to the last off of the day.  On others, it is on the "inside time", or the first off of the day, to the reporting time of the next piece.  

Now, normally if that's under an hour, it is paid anyway, as "Intervening time."  Thus, the scheduler's goal is to make that interval at least 61 minutes.  

The basis for guarantee and overtime also depend on the Labor Agreement, as to when they start and end for calculations.

The ultimate goal is to create good runs for drivers, but at the minimum cost -- balancing whether it's cheaper to pay Spread than Overtime, whether paying Overtime is better than putting in an additional street relief away from the garage, whether some amount of Overtime is better than increasing staff size, with its attendant added fringe benefits, and so on.

I had one a couple of years ago, that took me two weeks to do a runcut and roster for an 18-bus system.  When I started on Monday, I thought I'd be done by Friday.  Right day, but the wrong week.  In part, it was because of their labor agreement left over from being a 60-100 bus system, and in part because they didn't actually know what they ran.  We had to bring Street Supervisors and Drivers in, to explain their schedules to me.  There were trips on the public timetable that they didn't operate, and there was service they did operate but never told anyone about on the public timetables.  

And that's just scratching the surface.  In California, bring Wage Order 9 (lunchbreak law) into play, and the company's interpretation of the ambiguous language.  For anyone interested in more on transit scheduling, go to the Transit Cooperative Research Program's website www.tcrponline.org and look for TCRP Report 135, "Controlling System Costs: Basic and Advanced Scheduling Manuals and Contemporary Issues in Transit Scheduling."

Kind of makes me envious of manufacturing and retail scheduling for hourly workers -- but that wouldn't pay my mortgage, car, or all the money I'm putting into the 4107.  It also wouldn't get me all those frequent flyer miles.  

Arthur  
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Arthur Gaudet    Carrollton (Dallas area) Texas 
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« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2011, 06:44:07 AM »

I sent  in a PM answer a little while ago.  Hopefully it's right...

Brian
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« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2011, 07:01:14 AM »

ERRRR...UMMMM...

Do we subtract what the driver lost at the craps table?Huh? Grin




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« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2011, 07:33:19 AM »

That is crazy. I'll be looking to for the answer.

Entertainer coach driver pay is much easier.
$235-day up to 8Hrs/450 miles. Then you get another $235. It then repeats every 250 miles on the same run. Pretty good money on a long run.



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RJ
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« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2011, 11:17:52 AM »

All -

Have two winners already!

A question did come up from one of my PMs, and that was if the numbers I used as the driver's hourly and mileage pay rates was current.

I really don't know.  I just used the $10/hr figure as a base number for easy calculations, and the $0.33/mile came from the 300 mile break point.

Perhaps BK or Runcutter can chime in here and give us some "real world" numbers for today's charter drivers.

In the meantime, I'm working on a transit driver payroll problem for Friday - stay tuned!!   Shocked

FWIW & HTH. . .

  Wink
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RJ Long
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« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2011, 12:06:46 PM »

I ain't let'n my drivers see or know SQUAT about this!
They make $140 a day period!
Grin  BK  Grin
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Busted Knuckle aka Bryce Gaston
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Grin Keep SMILING it makes people wonder what yer up to! Grin (at least thats what momma always told me! Grin)
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« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2011, 06:26:47 PM »

A contract I have for the local big line/charter company as of Jan 2009:

Hourly : $17.39
One Day charter: $169.74 flat rate up to 11 hours, hourly after that.
Multi-day charter: $185.76 plus $30 meal allowance.
Line run: daily guarantee equals the one day charter rate: $169.74, otherwise, $0.4036 per kilometer ($0.6495 per mile) The big line pays 540 km or $217.94, the small ones fall under the guarantee.

This was considered the top of the heap for the area in 2009, the rest of the coach drivers in this area were generally paid less than this, some a far ways less. Dogbus too, they don't have enough long haul out of here to make the money that might otherwise be available in their collective agreement.

happy coaching!
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« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2011, 08:12:24 AM »

Tips? We're supposed to get tips?

:-(

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« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2011, 08:21:46 AM »

Tips? We're supposed to get tips?

:-(

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Many of my drivers do get tips, most of the time! (me especially with my charming personality! Grin)
Grin  BK  Grin
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Busted Knuckle aka Bryce Gaston
KY Lakeside Travel's Busted Knuckle Garage
Huntingdon, TN 12 minutes N of I-40 @ exit 108
www.kylakesidetravel.net

Grin Keep SMILING it makes people wonder what yer up to! Grin (at least thats what momma always told me! Grin)
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« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2011, 04:26:25 PM »

Send this in to "Car Talk" and win a T-shirt.
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justin25taylor
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« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2011, 07:00:58 AM »

Tips? We're supposed to get tips?

:-(

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 Smiley
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JackConrad
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« Reply #12 on: March 26, 2011, 04:27:11 AM »

OK RJ, what is the correct answer?   Jack
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RJ
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« Reply #13 on: March 26, 2011, 12:18:32 PM »

All -

The correct answer to my little payroll puzzle is $453.05.

It was calculated thusly:

1st day paid mileage: 415 x $0.33 = $136.95
2nd day paid hourly: 9.75 hrs x $10 = $97.50
3rd day paid hourly, 8 hr minimum: 8 x $10 = $80.00
4th day paid mileage: 420 x $0.33 = $138.60

A couple of answers came in where they missed the 8 hour minimum on the 3rd day, only calculated the hours worked.

Had a total of three winners: Brian, Bob and Jeff, many thanks to your willingness to play!  Prizes will be mailed Monday.

Since I only had a total of seven responses, I'm not going to post the transit driver payroll puzzle I worked on due to lack of interest.

Thanks again to those who played, and to the winners!

FWIW & HTH. . .

 Wink
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RJ Long
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« Reply #14 on: March 26, 2011, 05:57:43 PM »

I don't think I'd have caught the 8 hour minimum day either, I didn't notice it until I went back and re-read the problem. 

In Transit, I've dealt with quite a few where the contract language, and past-practice, were entirely different.  I do read and write English, which is different from "Contractese."  Several times, I've read labor agreements, said "It says we should do this", and the answer is "No, we do that - I know what it says, but that's not what it means."

On your Charter example, I was wondering if it was a trick question --- the company went bankrupt and the paychecks were rubber.  Your wording was smart --- asking what the driver earned, rather than what he/she was paid.

Russ, it really was a good contest.  I've had a lot of people ask me how I make a living, scheduling transit buses and drivers -- if they only knew how many twists and turns are involved trying to make good runs for drivers, and control costs at the same time!  Pat your head, rub your stomach, wiggle your left big toe up and down, your right big toe left and right, and cross/uncross your eyes to the beat of Dave Brubeck's Take Five. 

Arthur 
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Arthur Gaudet    Carrollton (Dallas area) Texas 
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« Reply #15 on: March 26, 2011, 09:12:53 PM »

RJ, i dont think it was a lack of interest! lack of brain development in math region of supposed said brain maybe. I was thinking you mixed miles and hours on the same day.
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« Reply #16 on: March 26, 2011, 09:19:24 PM »

I ain't let'n my drivers see or know SQUAT about this!
They make $140 a day period!
Grin  BK  Grin

you are overpaying your drivers...lol
at 453.05 for a 4 day run the pay/day is 113.25... Undecided
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