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5 RPs as is or can use this Guidebook to make the RPs reflect ees regardless of how and where they were taught. And for specific agency procedures and conditions. those who monitor worker performance, practices are The other APTA program involves a collection of RPs absolutely essential in that they serve as a "common denom- developed by the American Trucking Association (ATA) for inator," where all workers are measured against the same set the heavy-duty trucking industry. Since many truck compo- of work instructions and expectations. nents are similar to those used in transit buses, several of the ATA's existing practices also apply to transit buses in whole DETERMINING THE NEED FOR PRACTICES or in part. The collection of these ATA trucking RPs, entitled "Recommended Maintenance Practice for Transit Buses," is Written practices may not be needed for all maintenance an essential reference document available through APTA. tasks--it all comes down to priorities. PMIs are certainly a Chapter 2 contains information on how to obtain the bus RPs good place to start because they are central to every good being developed by APTA and the truck RPs assembled by maintenance operation. Additionally, having detailed PMI the ATA. practices for each vehicle type and key components goes a long way to help satisfy the Federal Transit Administration's Specific Benefits to Bus Transit (FTA's) Triennial Review requirements. In conducting its review, FTA requires grantees to show proof that they have a Many transit agencies already understand the benefits of documented maintenance plan for federally funded buses and using practices. In a survey of 62 agencies conducted as part facilities. Examples of the material required by FTA include: of this project, over 56 percent reported that they use main- tenance practices. Among agencies with such practices, the A maintenance plan that is current for vehicles and average number of practices was 34. Agencies without prac- facilities, tices may recognize the value of practices, but simply lack PMI checklists consistent with the grantee's current the resources or time needed to prepare them. operating fleet and with the manufacturer's minimum Practices benefit both workers and management. The maintenance requirement for vehicles under warranty, primary benefit to workers is that practices provide a clear set Specific maintenance procedures for wheelchair lifts of instructions on how to accomplish specific maintenance and other accessibility equipment, tasks that can be referred to over time. The instructions Proof that the grantee's maintenance plan and PMI impart the agency's collective wisdom based on its own activities ensure that assets are protected from deterio- experiences and the knowledge gained from others. As new ration and reach their maximum useful life, information becomes available, practices can be updated to A record-keeping system that permanently records the reflect the most complete, most efficient, and safest manner maintenance history of facilities and equipment, and in which to get the job done. A schedule for facility/equipment PMIs. For new hires and seasoned workers alike, practices serve as a convenient refresher to ensure that all job procedures The questions below will help you prioritize the need for have been correctly followed. Practices can also provide maintenance practices. Although no set number of "yes" workers with other essential information, such as safety pro- responses would indicate a need to develop a practice, the cedures, replacement parts and tools needed for the job, a issues raised here will hopefully cause you to recognize the glossary of terms to promote universal understanding, and many benefits offered by practices and then motivate you to proper disposal and handling of any hazardous materials gen- prioritize and develop them. erated from the job. The primary benefit to management is that practices help 1. Are there regulatory requirements that would be bet- ensure consistency between jobs regardless of who performs ter served by having documented practices in place? the work. Practices can also include a standard repair time 2. Is there a need to document compliance with any (SRT), allowing management to monitor worker perfor- specific requirement? mance, schedule work, determine staffing levels, and esti- 3. Are there excessive shop comebacks and/or road mate job costs. The costing information could be used for calls that result from improper repair or inspection budgeting purposes and to determine if outsourcing certain activities? jobs is more cost effective. 4. Is there a lack of consistency in performing certain Written practices are also useful to management in that inspections or repairs from one mechanic to another they can easily become part of the agency's training curricu- or from one maintenance facility to another (e.g., lum. Several agencies with in-house training programs use those with different lifts, layout, and equipment)? their practices as teaching aids. For those without training 5. Are the tasks on a particular job transferred to another programs who hire qualified technicians or rely on outside mechanic on a different work shift (i.e., where the training, written practices take on even greater importance second mechanic would need to know where the first because they provide uniform work instructions to employ- left off)?

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6 6. Is there a risk of warranty loss due to improper main- 11. Would there be a benefit in identifying the total tenance in specific areas? cost (i.e., parts and labor) for specific maintenance 7. Would there be a benefit in establishing time jobs? standards and monitoring compliances with those 12. Would there be a benefit in ensuring consistency standards for specific repairs or inspections? between classroom training and the way maintenance 8. Would there be a benefit in documenting the need for jobs are carried out in the shop? special tools, safety precautions, or the handling of hazardous waste for specific inspections or repairs? The issues raised in these questions can all be addressed 9. Would there be a benefit in identifying in advance all by maintenance practices. A logical approach would be to of the parts (individual or kits) needed to perform a first develop or improve practices pertaining to PMIs and specific maintenance job? then move on to specific areas that generate the most road 10. Would instructions written in another language, such as calls, repeat failures, and other unscheduled maintenance Spanish, improve the quality of inspections and repairs? activities.