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11 CHAPTER THREE RESULTS OF QUESTIONNAIRE Surveys designed to gain a better understanding of underlying standards for time allowed before repairing TVMs and before philosophies, policies, and other considerations involved in replacing burned-out lamps at stations. Both are important light rail maintenance were received from maintenance staff of matters to a system's customers. Three noted a standard for 11 agencies. The questions asked and the responses submitted the timely repair of broken crossing gates, a clear safety issue. are shown in Appendix B. To the right of the multiple-choice Ninety percent of responding properties indicated that they answers in Appendix B is the total of each response. Some of adequately and consistently monitored the standards and goals the questions requested that the respondents rank the top two they had. or three possible answers. The two right-most columns of the table note both the number of times a particular response was listed as the most important factor, as well as its weighted Benchmarking total. Responses were weighted as follows: a "1" was given a weight of "3," a "2" a weight of "2," and a "3" a weight of A majority of the respondents attempted to match their main- "1." Many questions included "other" as a possible response. tenance performance to those of the industry's best systems The pages following the questionnaire in Appendix B note (benchmarking). Twenty percent benchmarked "quite a bit," any comments or clarifications provided. and one-third compared themselves with the best in certain specific areas. The two indicators most used for comparison are "miles between revenue vehicle failures" and "mainte- STAFFING PHILOSOPHIES AND POLICIES nance expenses per revenue vehicle-mile." The first, how- ever, is difficult to use because there clearly seems to be a Initial and Ongoing Staff Levels difference in how systems define the term "revenue vehicle The first part of the survey probed basic philosophies and failure." Systems ranged from no revenue vehicle mechani- policies agencies used initially to establish and then maintain cal failure every 1,400 vehicle revenue-miles to one every their maintenance staffs. Some noted that their initial staff 53,000 miles. This range seems large for systems that have levels were based in part on consultant recommendations. relatively new LRVs. "Maintenance expenses per revenue Other agencies surveyed the industry themselves or used vehicle-mile" is also an indicator that is difficult to compare their own historic staff formulas. After the initial staff levels because the cost-of-living (and therefore wage rates) vary were implemented, ongoing levels were determined based extensively across the country. primarily on service quality policies and experience with man- power availability. Train Lengths Off-Peak Contracting Out One way to lower maintenance costs is to minimize unnec- essary revenue car-miles. However, this can mean breaking One-third of the respondents had considered contracting out and assembling train lengths two or three times a day. Do most if not all of the maintenance functions. (The Hudson LRT operators minimize revenue vehicle-miles in this way? Bergen LRT Line contracts out all maintenance as part of a The answer is yes based on the responses obtained. Two of designbuildoperatemaintain contract.) The main reason the agencies have off-peak ridership that is too high to allow the responding LRT systems gave for not contracting out most single-car operation off-peak. Of the nine that can drop cars maintenance functions were existing collective bargaining after the morning peak period, eight do. agreements. The second most noted reason was the desire to better control maintenance quality. LABOR ISSUES Maintenance Standards The second group of questions involves labor issues. Labor- related issues were seen affecting maintenance productiv- Most agencies indicated that they had maintenance standards ity only by some systems. Quality-of-service policies and and goals. The majority had standards for interior and exte- age of equipment were noted to be more important determi- rior cleaning and for periodic maintenance. Two agencies had nants of maintenance productivity. That the age of equipment