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65 CHAPTER 6 Tenure and Performance It is also commonly felt that if vehicle operators can be own public employees. Vehicle operators are hired and retained and are satisfied in their jobs, improved performance supervised by a contracted private carrier. The LYNX service should be the end result. The added experience on the job is a single-contractor, turnkey operation. A private contrac- should allow operators to be more efficient. "The right" oper- tor performs all aspects of service delivery including reserva- ators, working in a supportive environment and satisfied with tions, scheduling, dispatching, and vehicle operations. their jobs, should also help to ensure that higher quality ser- With the cooperation of these systems, productivity was vice is provided. compared for similar runs performed by operators with dif- While the above seems obvious, little actual research could ferent levels of tenure. On-time performance was also com- be found to document that improved performance does in pared based on operator tenure. And the rates of complaints fact result from lowering turnover and retaining vehicle oper- per operator per month were calculated for different tenure ators. To begin to document the extent to which performance groups. Following are descriptions of the methodologies used is influenced by tenure, two ADA paratransit systems were and the outcomes obtained. selected and studied in detail. One system was the DART pro- gram in Dallas, Texas. The second was the LYNX program in Orlando, Florida. These two systems were selected for the fol- Impacts of Tenure on Productivity lowing reasons: Methodology They were large enough to provide a pool of vehicle oper- At each system, a week of reconciled trip data was obtained. ators with an adequate number of operators in various The data was sorted by day and then by run number. For each tenure groups; run, the number of trips provided and the number of vehicle- They had moderate to high turnover, which was assurance revenue-hours was extracted so that productivity (trips per that there would be enough new operators to make an revenue-hour) could be calculated. The employee number of effective comparison; and the vehicle operator who performed the run was also obtained. They utilized state-of-the-art paratransit software that To control for inherent differences that might exist between allowed for the creation of special queries on operator and certain types of runs, the run structure was also reviewed with trip data. the lead scheduler at each system. Each lead scheduler was asked to identify runs that might be expected to have different At the time of the study, the DART system in Dallas productivities--for example, split runs that operate only dur- employed a total of 339 ADA paratransit vehicle operators ing peak hours versus straight runs that continue through off- and reported an annual post-training turnover rate of 48%. peak periods, versus late evening or weekend runs. A code was The LYNX program in Orlando employed 247 ADA para- assigned to each run to indicate its characteristics. transit vehicle operators and reported an annual post-training Next, a list of vehicle operators was obtained showing the turnover rate of 70%. dates of hire. Using the dates of hire, the number of months These systems were also selected to provide some contrast of tenure of each operator was calculated. This list was then in operating designs. The DART service is centrally scheduled combined with the run/trip data so that it was possible to with contracted vehicle operations. Reservations, scheduling determine the productivity achieved by each operator and the and dispatching are performed in-house by DART with its tenure of the operator that performed each run.