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102 Part 1. Case Studies Overview The research team selected 14 targets from the survey respondents for follow-up interviews. They were chosen because they had active restroom approaches that promised to teach a lot about what transit agencies (TAs) and local unions (LUs) have tried to accomplish and their successes, failures, and the changes they made in response. Ten of those targets responded to complete interviews. Because of overlap in location or similarity of programs, eight were chosen to be summarized in this appendix. Information for the unreported locations was still used in the report, as was that from many other less-systematic interviews and discussions held with other TAs. Each case reviews the significant areas defined in the study process and follows the organiza- tion of the report: organizational character, infrastructure, service planning and scheduling, and evaluation. A list of the tools provided by each source is included. The relevant content for each area differs quite a bit. The cases are presented here by size and region, as shown in Table AN-1. These charac- teristics were not the determining factors in what each was doing about restroom access. For example, although more people from larger TAs were involved, they all achieved some but not all of their goals, and they all kept changing. The TAs chosen for these case studies are possibly more alike than dissimilar. These TAs really cared about the issues related to restroom access for vehicle operators, and they were committed to thinking hard and collaborating. They engaged actively in developing better approaches after filling out the surveys and between the interviews. The amount of fruitful information provided by the TA and LU project participants was impressive and gratifying. It was so extensive that much is not yet reported here. The participantsâ ideas and actions will continue to inspire improvements throughout the industry. Case Study 1: Large Transit Agency in Eastern United States With this committee, [from the outset], itâs a round table. Everybody has input, and everybodyâs input is respected. There is no one individual whoâs making all the decisions, and I think we respect all our roles. I think thatâs the first reason why itâs so successful. And the other one is that through this whole process, for the past couple of years, some in the committee actually got to see what it takes to get projects started, to see the back side, to see the inner working of different offices and the coordination with other offices, outside entities, to make things happen. I think we all kind of learned a little patience in getting things done. A N N E X Supporting Materials
Supporting Materials 103 Organizational Character The survey for this large TA was completed by the vice president of the LU, who is also a bus operator, and the bus operations specialist from service planning. The company provides bus, fixed-rail, and paratransit service in urban and suburban areas. Two group interviews were conducted with members of the TAâs Restroom and Break Committee including a service plan- ner, a bus operations specialist from the office of bus planning, the deputy chief of safety, the station operations coordinator, the fire life safety manager, and a rail special projects employee. Many committee members were bus operators, some of whom were shop stewards or elected union officers. Unfortunately, with this large group, it was not possible to identify each speaker in the transcription of the interviews. However, all interviews took place with union and man- agement participants together, and there was typically agreement with the statements quoted anonymously here. The TA has contributed a significant amount of resources to restroom concerns, ranging from responding to immediate needs for supplies to contracting a comprehensive study of restroom resources and needs across bus and rail. The time commitment of the staff was impressive. Several managers were spending 30% of their time on this issue at the time of the interviews. In addition to the demand on their paid time, union committee members, the identified point people for restroom concerns, received texts from fellow operators. No one has brushed us off or not taken this committee or the issues seriously. The AGM [assistant general manager] of Bus, when he formed the committee, was very supportive and still is supportive of it. And he represents the COO [chief operating officer] and the general manager. For the most part, being able to get the union guys off of their regular work to come in here and give the ideas and support this committee is one example. In my 21 years, I have never seen this type of commitment that will allow union members to get off their route; itâs been a few hours here, and generating ideas to come up with an option or a resolution or a solvable problem dealing with restroom facilities. So management here from the general manager on down has been awesome for the past couple of years. Thatâs how I see it. I donât know how the rest of the guys feel about it, but thatâs my thinking. The Restroom and Break Committee was created in 2016 to identify and resolve issues for bus operators. The committee has monthly 2-hour meetings and includes representatives from multiple departments beyond service delivery: bus planning, bus transportation, rail infrastruc- ture, transit police department and safety, real estate and land, architecture and design, and plant maintenance. Committee members credited the structure of the committee and the presence of mutual respect for their success. One member said, Committee members also acknowledge the diversity of backgrounds and collaborative nature of the group. . . . The other thing I would add is that itâs been very helpful having everyone at the table because everyone brings different knowledge. . . . Everybody has risen through the ranks that we have. We have bus reps that have driven two and three divisions. So if someone says, âWhat do I do for this?â and then someone from another division says, âWell, weâve been doing this for years.â So itâs very collaborative, to make sure that everyone brings something to this table.â Region Large Medium Small Total Canada 1 1 2 Eastern 1 1 2 Midwest 1 1 Mountain 2 2 Western 1 1 Total 4 2 2 8 Table AN-1 Case Study Characteristics
104 Improving the Safety, Health, and Productivity of Transit Operators Through Adequate Restroom Access The Committee is not involved in budgetary decision-making; it generates ideas and makes proposals to the executive leadership: We donât think about funding. We bring ideas. We bring options to the table. So from a low end, like placing porta potties, to a high end, where we may be building new structures, thatâs a range. We bring the ideas, and we bring options to the table, and then we pass that information along to the executive leader- ship team to say, âThis is what the committee prefers we do next,â or âThese are the next steps we would like to see or the next actions to happen.â So we donât have a budget. Weâre not constrained by a budget with this committee. If the executive leadership team approves our suggestion, thatâs good. If they donât approve one of our options, then weâll go to the next option. Infrastructure The TA has almost 300 bus terminals in the system. Of those, 102 terminals have restrooms on TA property and 107 terminals have nearby restrooms on non-TA property. TA-owned bus terminal restrooms are open during all operating hours, but some rail facilities do not have rest- rooms available to operators when needed. The infrastructure is aging: The existing facilities were built more than 30 years ago, so at that time the planning was different, and the goals were different. Weâre now looking to retrofit the infrastructure to accommodate this requirement. The TAâs approach to capital planning is multileveled and needs based: It started off with a need. Do I have access? And where you donât have access, how can we get you access? Thatâs an approach weâre taking as far as restroom access. The next thing is what type of facility are we trying to have? Is it something temporary like we have with porta potties? Do we look long term in finding some capital money to build a permanent structure? We have service changes probably once or twice a year. Lines change, routes change, and services are eliminated, while new ones are implemented. So where is access, and where donât we have access? Many of the restrooms on non-TA property present challenges to operators, as they are open to the public, are in businesses and buildings with their own hours, or are not within walking distance of the bus terminal point. When there are no restrooms in terminals, bus operators stop elsewhere on their routes. Home routes are in residential areas without accessible rest- rooms. The TA has developed detailed criteria to assess possible restroom locations. It secures restroom access through an agreement with the site, covering duration, parties involved, rest- room location and description, hours of operation, financial arrangement, use etiquette, and maintenance expectations. Its goal is restrooms that are within a 3-minute walk of the bus stop and accessible within bus hours of operation, preferably with multiple stalls. Itâs station plan- ning guide emphasizes that, âThere must be an operatorâs restroom and break room provided outside of the rail station accessible 24 hours per day by bus operators. It must be located within walking distance of the bus loopâ (WMATA 2017). The agency is currently undergoing capital planning to add about 13 new, permanent rest- rooms in locations that share other modes of transportation. During this process, it installed portable restrooms at these properties as a temporary solution: The porta potties is one project, or one phase, giving them access after hours. We continue to work on that. And part of that is coordinating with our station access planning department any new joint develop- ment projects that we have. We want them to include the structure of a restroom facility where operators have access to it 24/7. And that also could include a break room as well. So all of that is being incorporated into our station access manual as well. So thatâs one phase, so we got the porta potties still ongoing. The plan will create break rooms with toilets for rail employees by retrofitting existing struc- tures; these would also be open to bus operators and others. A plan that we have developed . . . for employees who work in the stations but also employees who interact with that station, like bus operators, custodial staff, those types of titles as well. . . . We identi- fied some stations that were strategically placed so that thereâs an interaction between the intermodal
Supporting Materials 105 stations, the buses, the rail. And also we looked at structures we already have in place that we might have to reconvert. Then we have all the due process with architectural, and weâre looking at the capital finances for 2019. That should be about 13 new ones that should be coming out. Once we go finish the architecture evaluation, [weâll] eventually get to â20 and â21.â The TA funded an evaluation of restrooms in its system, considering restroom availability, type, and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility and distance from terminal points throughout the system. The TA obtained its data from multiple sources: âThe union, these guys, the bus operators, and the executive leaders, leadership stewards they got, they collected all this data for us, and then we turned it over to the consultant.â This is a complement to the committee. Weâre going to compile all the information mentioned, which is all the existing restrooms and break rooms that we have, and then where we have the current challenge, is we need to fill in those gaps and also where the porta potties are. Weâre going to look at industry best practices and determine what people are doing around the country for a long-term solution, so we could develop some type of prototype that we could have so that when we put up these permanent structures and then develop some guidelines on how to implement it. And there will also be where we want the rest- rooms once we have funding available. We would also look at other solutions. So letâs just say that putting a permanent facility might not work for me. We may need to have some rerouting of the bus route, or we may need to look at leasing some outside facilities, which we currently do now. We are also trying to have some guidelines for that. So in the end we would have like a formal guideline developed to show every employee where we have and then some recommendations on how we would like to move forward for the locations that we donât have restrooms. Since these interviews took place, the TA produced a detailed guide to restroom planning and infrastructure that provides a unique summary of how an organization can marshal resources (WMATA 2018). Route Planning and Scheduling Perhaps because of the focus on infrastructure at this point for the committee, the inter- views did not provide as much insight about route and scheduling consideration. Routes in this system are evaluated every 6 months and adjusted when needed. The TA does consider restroom access in its planning as well as the costs involved with changes, and planners are cognizant of restroom time demands generally and in specific locations. For example, We ran some numbers on how much it would cost to reroute all our services from a terminal to our main headquarters building here . . . and how much it would cost to keep the rail station open through a period of time until bus service ends. We havenât implemented that option as far as the restroom acces- sibility yet, but that is one of our options on the table when we come up with trying to find a solution, too, for access, is rerouting service. We havenât implemented it, but it is on the table.â Service Delivery The TA in recent years has implemented a policy change so that operators would be free to use the restroom when needed and without negative repercussions. As a bus planner explained, The assistant general manager of bus issued a policy, that a bus operator can stop anywhere on the route anytime to use the bathroom without any fear of [discipline]. Donât worry about the schedule, donât worry that youâre going to get disciplined for anything. The restroom is an important personal matter, and if you have to go, then you need to go. Even with the new policy, operators were initially not confident. Consistent communication and support for the policy helped: In the beginning, getting the communication out to the operators was slow, and some were hesitant. But once the word got out and they knew they had the support of the AGM, more and more operators started to use that option to leave the bus while in service. . . . The assistant general manager put out a notice saying that an operator can use the restroom whenever they need to regardless of schedule and wouldnât have any threat of discipline. And that did take a little while to flow that through to all the vari- ous street supervisors, but I think weâve got a handle on it now.
106 Improving the Safety, Health, and Productivity of Transit Operators Through Adequate Restroom Access However, not all problems have been solved. According to the LU vice president, significant problems remain on specific routes and times. In addition, Rail operators are not always relieved when they ask for it and there are not restrooms at every station. In some maintenance yards, the bathrooms are broken and employees are required to go far out of their way to use the restroom in another area of the property. Improvements could include providing more access, building restroom breaks into schedules, and providing more relief along the lines in terms of relief operators or supervisors. The bus operator specialist respondent explained one of the core problems they face: âLay- overs are recovery time for schedule, not restroom break[s].â Operations, hygiene, and other incidents sometimes occur due to lack of restroom availability. Paratransit operators are restricted as well: Restrooms are located at contractor garage facilities and there are not designated restrooms for use elsewhere during service. . . . Paratransit operators are employed by three or more separate contractors, who have their own policies and procedures which govern. Evaluation According to the TA survey, the agency analyzes delays from unscheduled restroom use, health care costs for conditions caused or aggravated by limited restroom access, building or renovating restrooms, contracts with businesses for use of their facilities, and portable toilet contracts. Some of these considerations are addressed across many departments. For opera- tions data, operators notify the TA that they are leaving their vehicle to use the restroom, which provides the TA with information about frequencies and locations of unscheduled use. The restroom committee members themselves have collected and analyzed important data. The con- sultant evaluation completed in 2018 was supported by this additional careful data collection: So in the beginning, it was kind of raw. . . . If we got a complaint from the union or an operator, or we just had it in an e-mail, we tried to resolve it. When the committee formed, we got a little bit more organized. Actually, with the help of these guys around the table, they went out several months ago and collected all the data for all our terminal points on where there was a restroom, where we didnât have one, whether there was a store, whether we had an agreement, was it ADA accessible. We have that data. Last month we had a huge number of operator reports, so we have that data set to go back on and understand a bit better what the operators are doing, what and where. Tools The interviews focused mainly on the committee activities in the context of the restroom planning study. The TA shared the statement of work for this project. Two notable resources are available on the Internet: Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). (2017). Station Area Planning Guide. https://www.wmata.com/business/real-estate/upload/Station-Area-Planning-Guide- October-2017.pdf. Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). (2018). Metrobus Restroom Planning Guide. https://www.wmata.com/initiatives/plans/upload/Metrobus-Restroom- Planning-Guide-FINAL-REPORT.pdf. Case Study 2: Large Transit Agency in Mountain Zone I think at a very broad level itâs a change in culture, that [TA] went from being very focused on dollarsâwe still areâbut we were just really poor and struggling to shifting to the attitude that we will be more successful and better with our dollars if we think about our employees. âTransportation Manager
Supporting Materials 107 Organizational Character The surveys for the large regional TA were completed by the TA regional general manager and the president/business agent of the LU. The TA provides bus, fixed rail, and paratransit services to urban routes that largely serve tourists and also suburban routes that serve commuters. Both union and management survey respondents agreed that restroom access is one of the most impor- tant issues they need to resolve. While the TA is doing a lot to address restroom access issues, all respondents felt that some problems or concerns remained. Restroom access is a problem for passengers as well, as public restrooms are only provided on commuter rail trains. Interviews were conducted with the LU vice president, a bus operator, a regional general manager for bus service, the manager of operations, and the manager of operations planning. Management believes it has a reasonable and humane approach to restroom access, stating, âWe do specify in our contract that [operators] can stop on route to use a restroom facility, because it was that big of an issue for us that it ended up in our CBA [collective bargaining agreement].â This trust has been facilitated by forging a good relationship with management over the past 10 years. The transportation director claims, âWe now basically have the whole company thinking and talking about bathrooms when theyâre making decisions for further growth, and thatâs something we didnât have in the past.â Many TA staff are involved in restroom access planning and support: the regional general manager for bus service, who carries out operations, maintenance, and operational planning; the manager of operations; the manager of operations planning; and two planners involved with the short- and long-term planning of the bus systems. According to a TA survey, operators also contribute to route planning and scheduling decisions. Starting two decades ago, the Bus Operator Restroom Task Team, made up of bus operators and supervisors, worked to identify restroom locations throughout the system. Initially, a full- time employee was delegated to act as a liaison with businesses and other building owners along routes. This positionâs duties were later folded into management duties, according to the trans- portation director. Management also reports to a board of trustees. The LU president stated, Of course, thereâs a hierarchy where these ten managers report to these five managers, who report to two managers, and then the top one or two will report to the board. The way the [TA]âs board is set up, which in ways we use to our advantage. The TAâs written policy allows operators to make unscheduled stops if they need to access a restroom, and there is no written policy that states they will be disciplined if they do so, unless there are service delays. Operators are not required to call in their breaks and are asked only to inform the customers on their bus. The collective bargaining agreement confirms that the TA will make and post restroom arrangements on all lines. In the absence of an approved location, operators are allowed to use any available facility they identify. Management relies on the LU to communicate the restroom access policy. The LU reports that operators do not make use of it, out of embarrassment, and because they do not want to delay passengers. The driving structure pushes operators to sometimes forego their own health so that schedule times can be fulfilled. An LU representative stated âWeâve got some strong language [in the contracts] that protects them, but me as a driver, I know that thereâs times it would take a lot for me to stop on route, because youâve got passengers relying on you.â Some communication lines between management and operators are faulty, as many operators choose to forego hydrating themselves so that they donât have to urinate while on duty. The LU repre- sentative addressed this conflict, saying, âItâs confusing. You either want me to run this route on time? Or I can be healthy?â
108 Improving the Safety, Health, and Productivity of Transit Operators Through Adequate Restroom Access Infrastructure Relationships with businesses and vendors are important for this system, as the fixed sta- tion was not built with public restrooms or TA employee restrooms in mind, according to the manager of operational planning. As a solution, the TA stated, âWe have a list of companies that will allow us to use their facilities, and we put it in the block for the operators at the start of the shift.â The TA has assigned a supervisor to update the list every change day, which occurs three times a year. An LU representative discussed how they had argued with supervisors about building rest- room facilities when a management house or a new light rail station is built. Despite these argu- ments, the line of communication with the planning department is viewed as mostly positive: Having somebody at the table with awareness of operational issues has played a significant part when it comes to the design of new facilities and incorporating restroom accommodations for operators in new major projects to the new major facilities. âPlanner Management acknowledges that some routes have limited resources available to them, which makes access to restrooms for operators difficult. âThe thing I have to keep in mind is the prox- imity of a restroom to where the end of the line for the bus route is, and how that may affect the operators,â states the manager of operations planning. Two prefabricated trailer restrooms with heating, electricity, several stalls, and even music were recently installed. By negotiating with land owners who plan to build condominiums in the vacant lots near where one of the restrooms was stationed, the TA will be able to gain access to the restrooms in the newly constructed build- ing, and then to move their mobile restroom to another location that requires it. One issue is meeting city health code requirements, as the restrooms are viewed as permanent facilities. Another main hurdle is acquiring funding to build more restrooms: âHow do we build a brick and mortar building? Theyâre so expensive in getting funding to those areas.â Route Planning and Scheduling Management acknowledges the importance of easy restroom access to operators, according to an LU representative who says management offers them a list of places âonboard with the [TA], allowing the operators to stop and use the restroom there, whether itâs a 7-Eleven, or whatever it is, on the route.â The inclusion of this list is part of the contract language. However, operators can only sometimes access restrooms at the beginning and end of a run. To bring operators into discussions regarding route planning, management has created an open door policy. âOperations planners meet with the operators on pay days. . . . Operators come in and they tell us whatâs going on with that route.â The LU representative confirmed this line of communication, stating, âWhen we bring up something, efforts are made to accommodate it.â To help coordinate with outside developers and businesses, there is a program in place in which operators can submit their suggestions with regard to potential facilities along the routes. Management says once a potential facility has been identified, âwe will go out and speak to the management of that facility and see if in fact they would allow us to use it.â The manager of operations planning revealed that the TA had also communicated with pas- sengers to let them know when to expect to wait for a bit longer along certain routes, so that the operator has time to access a restroom facility. âWeâve been doing it for years. The passengers expect it. They know theyâre going to get to the next time point. They know theyâre going to get there on time, but itâs built into the route so that [operators] can stop there and use the rest- room.â The disadvantage is that this extra time requires the operator to stop and hold, even if he or she does not need to use the restroom. There is also a policy that allows operators to take route deviations if needed to access restrooms.
Supporting Materials 109 Service Delivery The TA survey respondent reported that the unscheduled need for restroom access rarely delays services. However, LU members feel there is a potential for accidents when operators do not have easy access to restrooms or feel too pressured to make their scheduled times. One representative said We donât want an operator out there holding their urine because theyâre scared to use the restroom. Itâs unsafe, itâs unsanitary, and itâs unhealthy. At the same time, it makes them a risk behind the wheel. Their attention to detail [while] driving could be affected by that feeling. As a result, strong language was built into their contracts, which specified an operatorâs right to pull over without the threat of disciplinary action being taken against him or her. According to the manager of operations planning, the recovery time at terminals and at the ends of lines is roughly 10% of the trip, which translates roughly to 10â15 minutes every 2 hours. âInstead of the bus coming in and it being the next trip out, itâs the next trip after, so they also have a little bit of a fallback, and [that] allows for enough time.â Evaluation The TA analyzed a range of restroom-related costs, including extra run or dwell times for scheduled breaks, routing modifications for restroom accommodations, and added âwages for extra time in run.â It also collected data on worker comments and complaints. Tools No tools were shared by this TA. Case Study 3: Large Western Transit Agency This program is focused on our operators and our system. I believe that through a little bit of pressure, we have pushed through a very functioning program that is here long term to serve our operators as well as the function of [the city]. Organizational Character This is a large municipal transit agency that supplies bus, fixed guideway rail or trolley, and paratransit service in urban, suburban, and rural areas. The survey was completed by the LU president and by the TAâs full-time restroom access coordinator (RAC). Interviews were held with the RAC and the release-time bus operator and also with the restroom committee after listening in on their regular meeting. The RAC also provided a detailed description of the pro- gram at an industry conference in 2017. The Restroom Committee includes operators from each bus base and staff from operations and facilities departments as well as safety, planning, and service development among others as needed and meets monthly. Unless otherwise noted, all quotations in this case study are from the RAC, who was the primary source for information and materials. The restroom access program began decades ago with an operator-driven team that handled restroom access issues and eventually inspired the current extensive program. A bus operator on relief time would serve for 6 months in finding restrooms as needed. After funding was elimi- nated during a cutback, there was no momentum to keep the program running. According to the restroom coordinator, Unfortunately, along with the financial budgetary restrictions that all of us went through, we had some tightening of the schedules that made it even more difficult for operators to find bathrooms. We found ourselves in a situation that operators, rightfully so, had issues with. They were not able to access the bathroom.
110 Improving the Safety, Health, and Productivity of Transit Operators Through Adequate Restroom Access After a serious citation issued by the state department of labor, the RAC position was created and the TA restroom policies were expanded and clarified. The RAC explained, We approach this program as [serving] internal business partners as well as our external business part- ners. My end client, I view, as the operators and [TA]. We have to have high functioning for both of those. And theyâre interdependent. So I serve the rail operators and our bus operators. While rail operatorsâ access was not originally a consideration, as the issue has gained promi- nence among the workforce, the RAC has worked with the rail division to establish responsive policies. A recent event involved the need to communicate with operators when terminal rest- rooms are out of service so that facilities can be accessed along the route, maintenance can be prioritized, and relief drivers can be provided when needed. The coordinator described the departments that interact with the program emphasizing that interdepartmental coordination is critical to the success of the program, We have a service development department thatâs down in the main office, and our planners, our schedulers, our facility folks, they are all over there. They are a huge part of what we do here [in the rest- room program] in that theyâre pivotal to the successful operation of immediate and mid- and long-term planning. . . . I like that perk of being able to work with our different teams to provide a better working environment for the operators. It kind of lends a new case to restrooms. So that comfort level, I think it expands on that. I work with the design and construction folks internally as well as with our partnering agencies. In addition, the RAC works with outside businesses to secure restroom access locations. The RAC described the relationship with the union as âvery positive.â The RAC works with the LU on special projects and maintains communication with operators: We will occasionally put an article in the newsletter, or go and visit them and give updates to their e-board. One of the programs that Iâm trying to get off the ground is meeting with their shop stewards to try to pass on as much real-time program information to them as possible. The release-time bus operator has day-to-day functions and supports the coordinator on time-consuming projects. The operator also oversees work orders for restrooms in the system, does field visits where restrooms are no longer available to find alternate options, and assesses restrooms about which there have been operator complaints. The operator will visit âat a weird time just to go see the condition of that [restroom] to see if itâs actually whatâs being reported.â The operator explained that complaints are not always connected to actual restroom issues, say- ing, âPeople have different definitions of a [restroom] being clean versus not clean.â Operators are given detailed information about the restroom program and policies: I talk to the new classes and encourage them that if theyâre out there, as hard as it might be to stop while theyâre in service, if they need to do that, they really need to yield to that desire. An operator that is under so much pressure, and they havenât been able to go to the bathroom, and theyâre in pain, if they push themselves and they push those yellow lights, and a life is lost, or if an accident is caused, or something happens, the consequences of that are far greater than, hey, folks, Iâll be right back, I need to take care of myself. Materials stress the importance of using the restroom when needed and that there will not be repercussions for using appropriate restroom locations along routes. The operator bulletin states: Driving your bus to access a nearby [restroom] is acceptable if the [restroom] is identified in the route book as an option for the operated route. Stopping somewhere other than a designated layover requires the selection of a location where the bus can be both safely and legally parked. You must also attempt to notify the coordinator of your location. Should you arrive at the end of a trip, and you are already beyond the scheduled recovery time, you are authorized to use the [restroom] if needed. Such use of a [restroom] will not be considered an âunnecessary delay.â
Supporting Materials 111 Infrastructure We have quite a large infrastructure of a transit link thatâs going in. All of those terminals are going to have to be serviced by buses. And if theyâre serviced by buses then we have operators. And the operators need a place to use the restroom. That seems logical, that it would automatically have restroom facilities for the operators, but whatâs less obvious is the impacts on the system: How many of them do we need to have? Where are they located? Are we providing bathrooms for the operators that are in service so that when theyâve got a full coach they can actually get out and use the restroom, and theyâre stuck up on the freeway, or in traffic? And when that estimated hour trip that they were going to do turned into two and a half hours they need to have a place to use the restroom. The restroom committee is confident in its approach to most problems. There are both infor- mal and formal arrangements to use non-TA restrooms. The nature of the relationship seems to depend on the perspective of the business owner or manager of the space. Most TA restrooms in the system have a single key type; codes are used occasionally when they interface with another transit agency. A primary concern in the TAâs current environment is to standardize its rest- rooms design and hardware: Weâre working on standardizing all of the [restrooms]. My biggest concern is all of our fixtures and the water closets and hot water tanks and all that in the unit themselves. And thatâs what we were mainly focused on now, is trying to bring everything to one so we donât have to have a whole bunch of different stuff in stock. Take our water heaters. Weâre bringing it down to just one certain water heater to where we get a call for a water heater not working. The guys can just take a water heater with them, so it saves us time. âFacilities Manager Restrooms are built or refurbished with a contractor, and cleaning is also contracted out: Weâve got four or five people that clean them daily. They have a regular route that they run, and they go through and scrub them out and rinse them out. Thatâs why we have that six-inch curb inside of the [restroom]. . . . The water wonât hurt the walls.â The facilities manager stressed that both the standardization of facilities and designing them so that they can be easily cleaned are important lessons to pass on to other agencies: âWhen they build the [restrooms], build it to actually you can clean with water, and thatâs one of our biggest things. Before we were running the walls all the way down the floor. The next thing you know, weâre rotting out the walls.â The standardization aides in efficiency; equipment is âreadily avail- able so that you can just grab it off the shelf and take it with you and be able to repair it. Very seldom do we have to hold a [restroom] closed for any period of time unless there is something major that goes on.â The TA contracts out for portable toilets when necessary, which are safe, generally, with little vandalism. Portable toilets are accessed via key code, issued to operators by the RAC. When portable restrooms are undergoing improvements or being repaired, the key code is changed for that location and operators are informed that it is out of service. Probably the biggest infrastructure issue is the existence of homeless camps or congregation points that are near terminal locations. Homeless people use the public facilities, leaving them unsanitary, and at times the city will close locations that they believe have become unsafe. Route Planning So creating that escalated awareness in making sure that the capacity for these terminals, and for deter- mining how many bathrooms, or where theyâre going to be put, or the safety of their placement, means that I am fairly involved in those processes. Because planning for a long-range conversation on health is just as important as taking care of whatâs happening right now. Restroom access is a required element of route planning and changes. It demands inter- departmental conversations and has profited from upper management support. We worked very hard to break down the walls of the silos and establish those conversations. It has helped more than you can imagine to have senior management behind this saying, âYou will do this.â
112 Improving the Safety, Health, and Productivity of Transit Operators Through Adequate Restroom Access And then, of course, theyâre not in the field and theyâre not dealing with each one of our sections as ongo- ing practice. Thatâs up to me and the program and the different departments. So the nice thing about that support is that we have portions in our system that are still broken. They are getting fixed, where sometimes that means moving the routing of the path of the coach, moving the layover if we can do that. We go through all of the options before we refer to build. The statement from executive management is that no new layovers will be created without a bathroom, which helps. It helps to keep from adding to the problems. A restroom list for operators is included in the route book that they can carry. Each page has restroom markers and restroom names and updated hours and addresses. An electronic version of the route book includes a map showing restroom locations. The TA is currently working with HASTUS software to add a layer to its program that will indicate restrooms along routes. The layer will use ArtMap GIS to calculate walking distance between stops and restrooms. The RAC will still need to make some adjustments manually according to environmental conditions that GIS software does not capture (e.g., walking downstairs in a hotel). Night routes have improved by making route termination changes and adding extra time to account for safe restroom use. The routes with remaining issues (approximately eight, accord- ing to the LU source) include streetcars tethered to overhead lines. To access restrooms at a few outlying ends of routes, operators have to go âoff-wire,â which is expensive, time-consuming, and potentially dangerous. Scheduling Recovery time for layovers is generally 10 minutes for bus routes and 5 minutes for fixed guideway routes. The TA route planners work with scheduling and have a spreadsheet that we do. . . . We measure out wherever the restrooms are, and they have to be within policy. And then, those policy limits are associated with minutes that have to be calculated into the schedule to allow the operator to get to and back from the [restroom]. Thatâs very fluid. It can change. The walking time calculations are based on a speed of 3.5 feet per second, but are increased as needed. The TA encourages operators to make sensible decisions about using unscheduled restroom time by considering safety, service, and schedule, in that order: We recognize and encourage working smart and being strategic. We encourage our operators to plan before they leave the base. Make sure you know yourself. Nobody knows you better than you. You know your health issues. You know what your capacity is. Do everything that you can to stack those cards in your favor. Service Delivery The TAâs program is based on the belief that restroom access is a core and vital element to providing their services. âProfessional driversâ exposures to these risks are increased tenfold from the rest of us. So increasing that awareness for them is just as important as developing this program for them.â The RAC stressed that operators need to be cognizant and aware of using a bathroom because the implications of holding are very detrimental. Theyâre dangerous to their health, and theyâre also dangerous to the public that we serve and the folks that we transport. The brain and the bladder are very, very in tune with each other. To track problems with restrooms along routes, the TA provides blank reports that opera- tors can fill out and submit to the RAC, who receives approximately 20 reports per month. Reports are entered into a spreadsheet, and appropriate measures are taken either immedi- ately or after discussion by the restroom committee. Some operators make informal reports by texting the RAC, and some are reluctant to submit reports at all. One of the things that we found is that a lot of operators that have been around a long time would say, âI donât have time for that.â Well, okay. There is something causing that. You could look at it a couple
Supporting Materials 113 of different ways. You could say, âWell, then, you know what? You donât want to help make it better,â or âWhat is the cause of that?â And the cause is, they drive all the time. Theyâre tired at the end of their shift, and they donât want to fill out another piece of paper. So that is why Iâve made it so that digital is fine. There is an online version of the [restroom] report that they can fill out, and then send it to our [rest- room] e-mail, which is essentially the same information that is on the paper report. They are welcome to stop into the office. Theyâre welcome to call or e-mail. Frankly, I donât care how they get ahold of me. I want to know if somethingâs broken, because our system is huge. Accidental soiling continues to occur: When I started working here, the first thing they told me was do not sit on those seats. . . . Iâve gotten on the bus, and the seat had smelled like horrible urine, like in the summertime, and I had to call and tell them Iâm not sitting on their seat. âBus Operator While most attribute the problems to being stuck in traffic or having unaccommodated health issues, some feel that there are bus operators who cannot be bothered to walk at all far to a restroom. In any case, the TA makes sanitary kits available to operators in case of a urination accident, which includes seat protection and a card to notify bus facilities that the seat was soiled. The idea behind this practice is to minimize operator embarrassment. Nonetheless, operators do not often use them and donât want to openly ask for them. Pulling out soiled seats and replacing those that cannot be cleaned is an additional cost concern. The RAC and special assignment operator attend a safety meeting a month at each base. Issues are escalated through those meetings that otherwise would not be. And so having that tight con- nection with the base and with the operators every month, going into the bases so that they actually have some face-to-face time, is crucial for them to have the faith that when they say something, or when they turn in an issue, that it will get resolved. Because of the understaffing for so many years, it felt as if nothing happened. That transparency and that face-to-face conversation help. Evaluation The TA collects data on comments or complaints from workers, passengers, and community members. The committee assessed on-time performance data in the context of restroom use and unscheduled stops and analyzed the costs of extra run or dwell times for scheduled breaks, routing modifications for restroom accommodation, and accommodations for specific health conditions. Although the RAC reported evaluating vehicle accident records, no connection with restroom access was identified. However, safe parking and layover are considerations in locat- ing restroom facilities, and the committee responds to injuries on duty related to restroom use. Evaluation is part of the ongoing follow-up. The RAC uses a tracking spreadsheet for action items and employee suggestions to organize the committee meeting agendas. The spreadsheets list the date the item was opened, the problem description, the program manager responsible for mitigation or escalation, progress on resolution, and current status. Summary reports of resolved issues are reviewed in committee meetings. Tools This TA has produced an extensive set of tools for planning, evaluating, and communicating about restroom access: Program information: â¢ RAC job description; â¢ Overview of program protocols regarding restrooms; â¢ Detailed restroom policies that define terms and lay out guidelines, procedures, and responsibilities; â¢ Description of rules for fixed restroom locations; â¢ Diagram of TA departmental interactions;
114 Improving the Safety, Health, and Productivity of Transit Operators Through Adequate Restroom Access â¢ Minutes of committee meetings, including open items and updates from previous meet- ings; and â¢ Description of the accommodation protocol for restroom access for fixed-rail operators and the steps the control center must take to inform operators about terminal restrooms that are out of service. Forms: â¢ Restroom reporting forms for operators, â¢ Inspection form for operations supervision (online reporting system screen shot), â¢ Example of a work request form regarding faulty doors and locks, and â¢ Spreadsheet for calculating the total time needed at a stop. Outreach examples: â¢ List of locations of restrooms on holidays and Sundays; â¢ Contact information for concerns regarding restrooms and an outreach flyer for restroom concerns; and â¢ Bulletin with reminders for employees regarding property safeguard duties, restroom and first aid access, and steps employees must take when filling out defect cards. The LU also provided its recommended restroom access study covering health and operations impacts, route terminal and restroom needs and locations, and operatorsâ concerns proposed in 2012. The contents of this study parallel actions taken by the LU and the restroom access team over the past 5 years. Summary The TA perceives itself to be âa trailblazer in establishing policy and industry best practices for providing access to restrooms for our operators.â Both the LU president and the TA are satisfied overall with their approach and with the changes that have occurred. Although the interviews focused on good practices more than on problems, those mentioned in the surveys and reviewed by the committee included security concerns related to securing portable facili- ties, cleanliness, restrooms located near homeless encampments, soiling of bus seats, and some reports of urinary tract infections (UTIs) and restriction of water consumption. The restroom committee discussed creating systems to improve efficiency: standardization of design and equipment of restrooms for maintenance and durability, moving toward electronic reporting forms to ease collection of information across the system [online form and quick-response (QR) code], and a relational database to better inform multiple departments. The committee continues to respond to new challenges References FHWA. (2009). Chapter 4E, âPedestrian Control Features,â in Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways. Revision Numbers 1 and 2 incorporated May 2012. U.S. Department of Transportation. http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/. Case Study 4: Large Mountain Region Transit Agency I havenât had any incidents or accidents related to restroom access, nor really have I had any labor relations issues. Our CBA [collective bargaining agreement] doesnât specifically call out the availability of facilities. I think most transit professionals know that there is not always something available and that the access is dependent on the relationships that we build with the businesses in our area. And, honestly, disciplining on schedule adherence based upon an operator needing to use the facility wouldnât be a discipline that would really hold up. So itâs not something that you could take all the way through and win at an arbitration level. So I donât think that many contractors or many people that have bargained
Supporting Materials 115 employees would press that, especially if the operators are doing their job, and they send the codes that theyâre taking a restroom break. That would be something that I would hope that someone would be researching prior to producing discipline based upon scheduled events for that. âSenior Transit Operations Planner Organizational Character This large regional TA supplies bus service in urban and suburban areas. The transit agency handles routing, scheduling, and determining layover locations and layover times, and provides blocking to two bus service contractors. The surveys were completed by the senior transit opera- tions planner (referred to here as the âoperations plannerâ for brevity) and by the international union vice president (IUVP). Interviews were conducted with the TA operations planner and operations supervisor and with the transit planning manager; the senior operations manager; the safety, systems, security, and emergency planning program manager from two managing companies; and separately with the IUVP, as there were no LU officers at the time. The operations planner believes the TA has a reasonable and humane approach to restroom access and that it is in the agencyâs financial best interests to provide adequate facilities: The operator needs access. And when it comes down to it, if they need to use the facilities, we canât tell them no, that would not be the proper human thing to do, but now weâre at a deficit where if the route is underperforming or not performing to standards, then we can be financially liable for that, too. We want to take care of our operators, and our priority is to keep the service running on time because thatâs why weâre here. Thatâs our job. So if we donât have the access, then weâre not supporting either of our customers [the operators or the passengers] if thatâs the case. âOperations Planner In the group interview, several management staff stressed the importance of communication between constituencies. They have regular meetings with the contractors, share feedback from operators, and look for consistent feedback around problems, as well as a suggestion box. They rely on consistent and open communications, although that does not always occur: We also have quarterly driver focus groups where you have a free-range discussion, where a sample of operators is able to bring up concerns regarding any number of subjects related to service. . . . A perfect exampleâthere was a concern raised by operators about the restroom access on one end of one of our routes, and itâs something that we were aware of earlier in the year, and we thought we had a resolution on it, partly with the communication issue, with making sure operators were aware of the solution that we identified. But that also prompted us to examine the issue once again, and I went out with a couple of other folks last week, actually, and met with a store manager at a convenience store that basically had caused this issue, and that weâve been using this location for 15 plus years. Itâs an older convenience store in kind of a challenging part of town, and they had been allowing operators to use the restroom, and they changed that policy around the beginning of the year because they had experienced some theft and there was apparently an altercation. And so weâre currently trying to work with a division beyond the store managerâs control. Weâre trying to work with their corporate offices to see if we can reestablish access to that location because this is a particular example of, from a planning perspective, there are no good alternatives in that area in a way that would make the route efficient and on time. Nonetheless, according to the IUVP, operators still experience problems with access and see management as being lackadaisical in their approach to making improvements. The LU rep- resentative reported âon a lot of the runs, there is no restroom access. So you might not be able to use the restroom and thatâs a serious issue.â When asked what management does to improve the situation, the representative responded bluntly, âNothing.â The LU representative believes that the problem is primarily financialâto seriously address restroom access, routes would need to be adjusted to allow for more time. The LU representative also feels that problems persist because the TA and the two contractors continually deflect responsibility to each other in addressing issues. This sense comes largely from the international unionâs experience with the contractors at other U.S. transit agencies.
116 Improving the Safety, Health, and Productivity of Transit Operators Through Adequate Restroom Access Infrastructure At the time of the interview, the TA had recently opened a new transit location that helped with significant issues with restroom locations: Itâs really an improved shelter and layover zone that has operator access restrooms based on a key code entryâin fact, the layover location for two of our frequent service routes, two separate routes that are every 15 minutes. Previously, on both of those routes, the nearest restroom access was about at least 700 to 800 feet away; for one of them, possibly as much as 1,000 feet awayâjust park a little bit further up. These are very long routes traversing the entire urban areaâabout an hour and 45 [minutes] to 2 hours one directionâand during afternoon peak. And so, in those locations, to go from having a long walking distanceâ700, 800 plus feet one directionâto having restrooms built into a facility thatâs, you know, 50 to 75 feet from the bus stores, thatâs obviously a huge improvement in terms of access, especially considering how much service is operating on those two routes. âOperations Planner Management acknowledges the difficulty in providing 24-hour restroom access on all of its routes. Many layover stops with daytime facilities access are closed at night, forcing operators to stop somewhere along their route and call in a code. They understand that this may have a safety impact: It does make them anxious, especially if the urge for mother nature is calling drastically for them at the time. . . . It could make them anxious enough that they would speed, so they didnât have an accident in their trousers, but unfortunately it could cause another accident in a different way and hurt other people, too, and we try not to let that happen. âSafety, Systems, Security and Emergency Planning Program Manager The IUVP believes that access and availability problems could easily be addressed through TA investment, by providing restroom supplies and monetary contracts to businesses. Layover points have water access and, during the summer months, provide coolers of bottled water for drivers. Nonetheless, both management and the union are aware that some drivers choose not to drink as much water as they would otherwise, out of concern for need- ing to use the restroom: I hear operators talking that they donât drink throughout the day because they donât want to have to use the restroom. So that is a condition that theyâre putting on themselves that probably could cause medical problems in the years to come. You know, chronic dehydration is probably not good for you. Relationships with businesses are important for this system to be able to identify and main- tain restroom locations along routes, both between the agency/contractor and businesses and between operators and businesses. Operator forums occur quarterly; participants are encour- aged to speak about issues and problems on routes. At a recent forum, operators raised concerns about a particular location at the end of a route in a âchallenging part of town.â After a successful 15-year relationship with the TA, the convenience store changed its policy so that operators were no longer allowed restroom access. A manager at the convenience store had accused an opera- tor of stealing supplies and, in another instance, there was an angry verbal altercation between an operator and a store staff member. Management knew there had been problems there but thought these had been resolved; it would not have known about continuing issues without this forum. To address the issue, management went to the location and met with the store manager. In addition, it contacted the storeâs management, saying, Weâre trying to work with their corporate offices to see if we can reestablish access to that location because this is a particular example of there being . . . from a planning perspective, . . . no good alternatives in that area in a way that would make the route efficient and on time. So weâre trying to do everything we can to see if we can somehow build a relationship with corporate to see if theyâll once again enable access there, but that issue came about again, and that renewed effort came about because of the driver focus group.
Supporting Materials 117 The management representative added, And thatâs an example; again, itâs definitely not a good situation. We donât want to be reliant on one single business that has restrooms that are inherently difficult to provide access to because they are in nonpublic locations. Route Planning Management stresses the importance of having restroom access at layover points to avoid interruptions in route service, stating, part of the reason we take this issue so seriously, and why itâs so important to make sure that we design routes where layovers have access to restrooms, is because we know that if there is not a suitable restroom within reasonable walking distance of a layover, operators, as human beings, are going to have to use the restroom somewhere, so that means they are going to have to stop somewhere mid-run, and that gets into what [other manager] was saying about the operatorsâyou know, sending a text message, basically documenting that theyâre using the restroom. From our perspective, we canât really fault our contrac- tor for that. So that means we have an interest in resolving that from the planning, the plan perspective. Obviously, if there are suitable restrooms at layover locations, we really try to encourageâpress upon our contractors and out to the operatorsâto make use of those facilities. Of course, even then, emergencies can happen. Thatâs going to be less likely to happen if operators have a location theyâre satisfied with at the layover points. Management emphasizes its awareness about the importance of restroom access in its plan- ning and scheduling: Everything that we can do in terms of route planning and design to get restrooms located as close as possible to layovers, and with reliable access and locations that operators find acceptableâthatâs going to help ensure that our system runs on time, which is [TA]âs ultimate interest. Thereâs a natural shared interest in that. Unscheduled stops outside of layover are not allowed, except in case of emergency, in which the operator has to report it to radio dispatch. The TA expects drivers to appropriately manage bathroom breaks and would only consider discipline for operator behavior that is far outside the norm. It cites the agencyâs higher-than-average recovery time of 20.3% as a factor that helps drivers take their breaks and restroom visits at layover points the majority of the time, rather than mid-route. On the routes with shorter recovery times, issues persist. The IUVP says, On a lot of these runs you get to the end of your line and they give you 3 minutes. How are you supposed to go to the bathroom in 3 minutes when itâs 50 yards away to use the restroom? I mean if the restroom that was right there it would be a different story, but youâre supposed to smoke your cigarette, go to the bathroom, eat something, drink something and get back out in that 3-minute period of time. Some of them are a little bit longer, obviously, than 3 minutes as a typical end of the line turnaround. [The service contractor] presents its priorities differently: Restroom access is carefully considered when defining schedules and operational needs. At our yard, several facilities are in service for operators and employees in general. They are kept clean throughout the day by an external contractor and they seem to be sufficient for the number of employees, including 560 operators. I have not received complaints about cleanliness or insufficiency of facilities. It believes its scheduling offers adequate time for restroom access: Operatorsâ schedules have breaks built in between trips for schedule adjustment, recovery time, and operator breaks that can be [used] for resting, meals, and restroom access. These breaks usually range from a few minutes to 20 minutes.
118 Improving the Safety, Health, and Productivity of Transit Operators Through Adequate Restroom Access Service Delivery The TA planner acknowledged that restroom access plays a role in service delivery: Iâve been saying it from my perspective in terms of route planning and design scheduling. [TA]âs interestâwe are not directly responsible for the bus operators, but we all have an interest in the success- ful execution of the service, so to me, as a planner in that role, it would be highly deficient and negligent to ignore the role that restroom access plays in our performance. When there is not sufficient restroom access, drivers have occasionally resorted to urinating in public places. When this is done in view of customers, the customers file complaints, which are reported to the contractor, who then disciplines the driver. One frustration for management is that these instances have sometimes occurred when there were apparently accessible restrooms in close proximity. The IUVP indicated that there have been health issues connected to restroom access, and alluded to the stigmas around restroom use: I know we have members that have soiled themselves, which is terrible, on a bunch of different levels of problems. On the other side, itâs probably the members that donât use the restroom that end up with medical conditions. That information is probably harder to get the exact facts on because of participation. Thereâs a lot of embarrassment when it comes to this issue of restrooms. You know, you get the macho men that donât want toââoh, yeah, no, itâs not a problem for me.â But then they end up with bladder stones, other bladder infections, or the other medical problems that come along with it. The quarterly operator forums give drivers the opportunity to voice concerns about routes. Management makes annual changes to routes and considers restroom access in its planning. Policy changes are communicated through memos. The TA also sends messages through mobile data terminals and communicates via radio calls. They say, We canât just communicate something once and expect that it disseminates throughout the entire pop- ulation. We have to do continuous reminders and continuous communications when there are changes and when there are issues, because the last thing we want is when a change is made for one operator to not get the information, and then weâre back in the same issue or in the same situation where we were before. Evaluation The TA collected data on worker comments and complaints, passenger or community com- ments and complaints, and on-time performance data. The TA reported that it did not analyze costs. The TA also recently moved from an entirely informal system of tracking available rest- rooms (keeping a mental list and communicating information verbally) to a shared database of primary and secondary restroom locations, including walking distance and time, and the hours open. In conjunction with the spreadsheet, management sent out a memo to supervisors asking for their help in maintaining accurate information on the master list. They also shared interest- ing findings about restroom access and their methodologies. Tools The operations planner created a layover location inventory, which is a spreadsheet detailing the closest and next-closest locations of restrooms. The categories listed are layover stop, busi- ness name, hours, open access, restroom capacity, and walking distance. Case Study 5: Medium-Sized Canadian Transit Agency People need to go to the washroom. We need to plan for it. And they need facilities and they need time. When you do your route planning and your scheduling, you need to be factoring that in, just as if the bus needed fuel, youâd figure that out. The bus can run for 24 hours without fuel, but people canât run 24 hours without going to the washroom. So get over it and plan for it. âTransit Director
Supporting Materials 119 Organizational Character This medium-sized Canadian transit agency supplies bus service in an urban area. The survey was completed by the transit director (TD). The TD and the LU president participated separately in interviews. Restroom access issues are addressed by operations, service planning, scheduling, and labor relations. The TD described the departments involved and how they function: So a lot of it is the operations managerâhe deals with the individual employees on the on-street per- formance. Iâve got my planners who need to make sure that, when they plan a route, that itâs anchored on a washroom, on one end or the other, depending on the length of the route. Iâve got my infrastructure people to make sure that those washrooms are available because sometimes theyâre commercial facilities that have certain hours of operation. Their hours donât align with our service hours? Whatâs the Plan B? The transit agencyâs approach to restroom access was felt by the TD to be somewhat successful in the health arena, with some problems or concerns, very successful for safety concerns, and somewhat successful for service delivery. Their most effective approach: Recognize that people have to go to the washroom. Plan for it in your route and infrastructure designs and schedule opportunities that provide reasonable and reliable times to use the washroom at regular intervals. . . . This is a hot-button issue with the Union. Although the TAâs restroom policy is to allow operators access when needed, the LU representa- tive reported that drivers do not trust that there will not be repercussions: The response that they always fall back on is âAnyone can use the washroom anywhere, anytime.â Our director is actually very good with putting that message out. The problem is, nobody believes that mes- sage to be real. The TA and LU sources offered differing perspectives about an incident that received press coverage. The TA believed that an operator who used the restroom and was late in leaving had intentionally delayed service: From managementâs perspective, we saw this as an intentional delay to service as opposed to, he had to go the washroom. So that process played out. And sometimes thereâs the initial incident, and then after- ward, right through the grievance process, things morph. And then they get out into the media and then once itâs in there it takes on a life of its own. So from managementâs perspective this was an intentional delay of service. I canât go into the gory details. An intentional delay of service is quite different from, âGee, I had to go [to] the washroom.â Afterward, the TA provided notices to operators reiterating that they should use restrooms when needed, emphasizing that they needed to inform passengers. The TD also stressed that returning to their vehicle with a beverage could be misinterpreted by passengers: From a customer-service perspective, itâs in their best interest to keep their customers informed. Super- visors are expected to be tolerant. But if, say, youâre going to the washroom and you come back with a coffee, what are the optics of that? Was it to go out for a coffee, or it is for you to go to the washroom? Weâre in the public eye. Everybodyâs got cameras. Weâre public servants, we work for the taxpayers and the riders, and you know with social media these days, everything flies around very quickly. And youâre on a bus with the big numbers on it, and youâre wearing a uniform. So everyone knows who you are and what youâre doing, so govern yourself accordingly. We did clarify, because things that were said in the media were completely not true. We made sure that employees and supervisor staff had clear expecta- tions. Thereâs been no incident since then. âTransit Director The LU has a different perspective on the incident that got press: He was waiting for the employee washroom to be made available. He stood in line, waited for the employee washroom, stood talking to the person who was beside him. Once the washroom became avail- able, he immediately went in, did his business, and left. They ultimately disciplined him because there was complaint that the bus left the terminal late. They disciplined him for what was called intentional delay of
120 Improving the Safety, Health, and Productivity of Transit Operators Through Adequate Restroom Access service. So we said thatâs not intentional delay of service. Thatâs someone whoâs using the washroom. We tried to explain that to them. The whole process was so frustrating and upsetting to him. âLocal Union President Infrastructure The TA provides restrooms at end-of-route terminals, but mid-route facilities at commercial locations present challenges with customer service, and so drivers are asked to use them only in the case of emergency. According to the TD: The problem with mid-route washroom breaksâa load of passengers that are looking at their watches while the driver goes to the washroom, that causes a lot of drama. So those are really only if somebody had, letâs say, a personal emergency. That really canât be planned. Theyâre just there in the event of an emergency, and it should be an emergency. The TA has agreements with the owners and supplies consumable materials to offset operator use. Operators are allowed to use designated commercial washrooms in industrial areas, usually at one end of the route. However, the hours of operation do not always match the hours of service. The TD emphasized both the need for management to provide restroom access throughout the system and to plan schedules that allow for restroom use: Ultimately, as the transit provider, you need to make sure that thereâs an infrastructure in place and that you set the employees up for success, but you know thereâs a planning time in the schedule, and a reasonable prospect that youâre actually going to be able to deliver the schedule, because otherwise, when they get to the end of the line, itâs a 10 minute break and youâre 10 minutes late. He takes his break and youâre starting the next trip late. All the drivers are torn between going to the washroom and dealing with the drama on the bus. And is that fair? Itâs not fair to the customers. Itâs not fair to the driver, and itâs not fair to the transit system. So, how do you, as management, take reasonable steps to get that right? âTransit Director The TA recently commissioned a consultant to assess its entire network to identify geographic locations where we can anchor roots, and then what kind of customer and driver amenities we need in that so that we can inform our capital spending plans when they go forward to our municipal councils. The LU source noted that beyond infrastructure, access, and time, operators need to feel comfortable that they would not be reprimanded for using facilities, saying, They can give us a washroom every 10 feet if they so choose, but if my members donât have the time in which to use the washroom or feel threatened or intimidated or feel like their employment is potentially at risk, then thatâs just simply not going to help. The TA prefers to use existing restrooms rather than build new restroom structures because of the inherent cost of both constructing and maintaining TA-owned facilities. It described a mutu- ally beneficial relationship between businesses with restroom access for operators and the TA, For example, we have a lot of our terminals at shopping malls. And we have a place where we can bring the buses in, like a little terminal, and we get them to provide us a driver washroom that has its access so that weâre not interfering with the mall patrons. That we can access it after it closes. Thatâs part of our sort of lease to use those facilities. They are providing some amenities because weâre bringing customers to the mall, which they like. And thatâs why weâre there. So, as much as possible, we try not to build purpose- built facilities because [of] the capital cost of building and the operating costs; heat, electricity, cleaning it. Sometimes itâs unavoidable, but, as much as possible, we try to anchor that in the route so that thereâs a destination, and usually there is. âTransit Director Route Planning The TD summarized the relevant criteria for route planning related to bus operations as shown in Box AN-1:
Supporting Materials 121 The LU president discussed the system whereby route planners would ride with operators along routes to gather information to help with route design. The problem, from the LU per- spective, was that because these ride-alongs were not done at peak times and the operators did not actually pick up customers, the planners did not experience complicating factors such as traffic jams or large groups of school students. Scheduling The TD also provided the scheduling criteria the TA uses relative to restroom stops. It attempts to work 10%â12% recovery time into blocks of work and to achieve at least 12 minutes within each 2-hour period. Priority is given to layover locations with restrooms, and more time is given for locations where operators have farther to walk to the restroom. Since peak trips will not Box AN-1. Route Planning Criteria Related to Bus Operations As part of the route planning process, the following items are reviewed from an operational perspective: â¢ Traffic lane widths (preferred 3.5 m | absolute minimum 3.35 m); â¢ Posted operating speeds; â¢ Impact to traffic movements; â¢ Impact to sight lines; â¢ Intersection control (i.e., stop signs, signalized intersections); â¢ Signal timing; â¢ Storage length in right- and left-turn lanes; â¢ Physical turn restrictions; â¢ Number of left turns along recommended route path (right-turn movements are preferred); â¢ Placement of bus stops before versus after the intersection, midblock avoided, left-turn movements; and â¢ Traffic-calming measures (i.e., speed bumps). Routes are anchored to terminals or hubs so as to ensure appropriate layover space and operator facilities. Where a terminal/hub is not available, an alternate anchor point or layover location is recommended on the basis of the following characteristics: â¢ Adequate layover space to accommodate one or more buses (40-ft bus or 60-ft bus); â¢ Existing transit infrastructure (bus bays); â¢ Impact to on-street parking; â¢ Impact to sight lines; â¢ Storage length in right-turn lane, if layover within lane; â¢ Impact to residents (e.g., noise, fumes); and â¢ Proximity to operator facilities: â Short walking distance to facilities; â Access to washroom facilities 24 hours a day, 7 days a week is preferred; â Alternate washroom facilities along the route path; and â Lighting.
122 Improving the Safety, Health, and Productivity of Transit Operators Through Adequate Restroom Access have as much layover time, they give compensatory layovers during peak shoulders. The TD explained that the schedulers make sure that when we set the schedules, we provide an opportunity at least every hour and a half, 2 hours, not to have, instead of a 2-minute, or a 3-minute recovery time on the bus routeâyouâve got 5 or 7 minutes every hour. You also have to look at the local geography. If it takes 2 minutes to get to the washroom and 2 minutes to get back to the bus, then 4 minutes isnât enough. This information is not automatically incorporated into their scheduling software: They manually go back and make sure that there is time. Sometimes itâs very challenging, because youâre trying to meet a down route, a crossing between this route and that route. During rush hour, or during the week, itâs not such a big deal, but late at night and on weekends, when it opens up, itâs much more challenging to prevent a 25-minute transfer because you just missed the bus. Youâll have to give the driver extra time at the other end. So, those are the things that they have to do manually because weâre out building a grid, and transfers are required, and if the buses are frequent itâs not a big deal. âTransit Director Nevertheless, the LU feels that their run times do not adequately allow for restroom access and that the TA does not give the issue of restroom access and scheduling the serious attention it should: I can say our run times have gotten absolutely ridiculous. They put out run times that are almost impossible to meet. We keep speaking to our membership about not [skipping needed restroom stops], but they went and terminated someone who was running late, so that just sort of re-instilled that message or that fear into my members. So I donât believe the employer takes this very seriously at all. We had to do an audit of the amounts of routes that had bathrooms on them, but the bathrooms werenât accessible at certain periods of time. We really donât believe that the employer takes it seriously, because, to me, taking it seriously is making sure that at the bottom or top of every run, you have a guaranteed time that would allow someone to safely get out of the bus and use the washroom. âLocal Union President Service Delivery Communication between operators and management about restroom issues is vital but difficult: So communication is always a challenge in any big organization in making sure that everybodyâs approaching things from the proper perspective. Because the minute something is going on, there goes the trust, and there goes the communication. Two-way street. So all employees need to be communicat- ing in an open and honest manner and understand why weâre here, and what are the things we need to do [to] make sure that weâre successful. Again I keep banging away at, how do we set our employees up for success? You have to give them a real fixed schedule, and you have to plan that they need to use the washroom. Get over it. âTransit Director The TD stressed the importance of communication between operators and riders about rest- room breaks, with the understanding that it may be uncomfortable: And one of the key things is how do you manage the expectation? And this is all communication. And the minute people donât want to talk, and that could happen because, âgoing to the washroom is my right. I donât really think itâs your business.â So that can shut things down. Then also, announcing that youâre going to the washroom to customers, stopping mid-route, nobody really wants to do that. But the reality is that everyoneâs a person, but try to tell that to the customer who is going to be late for work. Itâs a very dynamic process. âTransit Director The LU source expressed dissatisfaction with the policy of announcing restroom breaks to customers, which the union felt was rarely used because of passenger reactions: So we can stop when we need to, but they had put out a policy expecting that we would make an announcement to the public that is on our bus saying âIâm going to stop the bus now because I have
Supporting Materials 123 to use the washroom facilities.â Although the policy technically lives, itâs not enforced or followed. They do say we can stop the bus at any time, but the runs are so tight that if you stop the bus, then the customers or passengers now start hollering at you. They associate a bus driver running into a coffee shop and coming out with food or coffee, regardless of whether they do come out with the food or coffee. Itâs just frustrating. They believe that women drivers, in particular, are delaying restroom breaks in order to avoid negative feedback from customers and that these delays are causing health problems: Weâre finding, especially with our female operators, they are holding that urge to use the washroom because the thought of the verbal attacks of . . . abuse is creating its own stress and trauma on them, but now weâre hearing that people are suffering more and more from urinary tract infections and things of that nature. The TD pointed out that technologyâspecifically, transportation mapping appsâallows customers greater access to vehicle locations and delays in service. This reinforces their com- mitment to improve service: We are always striving to improve reliability. Thatâs the most critical piece for our customers. Is the bus going to be on time? And weâve got real time info that we put out on an open feed, so itâs open data. All these apps use it. Everyone seems to have smartphones these days, and they know exactly where the bus is, because they can see it moving on the map and they know when itâs supposed to be here. So service reliability is so critical to the business. Itâs a never-ending challenge, because thereâs a dynamic environ- ment out there, but from a scheduling point of view, we need to be conscious of the fact that this is a people business. âTransit Director The LU does not participate directly on a run time committee, but drivers are able to submit feedback about route run time issues. Some are reluctant to do so because they perceive that it will result in unnecessary oversight: We started a new initiative, and weâre having our membership send us the run time issues. So we, the union, are raising them because what weâve found is the members are afraid to raise run time issues because then . . . they feel like supervisors coincidentally are following them all the time. Although the TA boasts a 92% efficiency rate for route times, the LU says that this number is skewed because it does not take into account peak-hour delays: Part of our issue, or really the main issue with their whole claims, because they say we have a 92% effi- ciency rate, on time efficiency. The problem with that 92% on-time efficiency rate is theyâre using all times of the day. So the non-peak hoursâ2:00 in the morning when nobodyâs on your busâof course that bus is running on time. And Iâve asked repeatedly for them to provide us with the on time efficiency rate or peak periods only, and Iâve never been provided that. Iâve gone to the mayor and raised the con- cern about the peak periods only and still not been provided that. âLocal Union President Evaluation The TA collects data on the impact of restroom access, but it does not analyze costs of rest- room access. It encourages operators to give feedback about route changes, including issues related to restroom access: When we post the work, it comes out on the board, everyone has a chance to look at it. They have a week to provide comments if thereâs something that is a problem. You make any final changes and then you find out the starts. So if there is a dialogue back and forth, and thereâs a specific location, . . . the union, on behalf of the members, raises the issue. We also have what we call our route evaluation, where an operator fills in a form, usually itâs about schedulesâyou donât have enough time here, or I canât get to the washroom because Iâm always behind. So individual operators can comment on their specific problem. The union can also raise issues from a more global point of view. The challenge for manage- ment is to address these in a meaningful way. And itâs very dynamic, because routes are changing, traffic congestion is changing.
124 Improving the Safety, Health, and Productivity of Transit Operators Through Adequate Restroom Access The LU described a citywide survey in which operators raised health issues and were met with a contradictory response: We have these employee engagement surveys, and last year, they added a lot of health and wellness questions, and a lot of people complained about the run times and all that in the city for this yearâs ver- sion. So we had the best turnout. We made an effort to go to our members and say, âYouâve got to use your board. If you donât use your board, youâre not going to make a difference.â And what happened is this year, for the health and wellness, when they rolled it out, they said theyâre taking out the question. That wasnât the directorâs doing. That came from the city, but thereâs no doubt in my mind that there is a correlation [with] our best turnouts because a lot of them talk about they were stuck in the seat; it hurts their back; and the schedule is bad. A lot of times theyâre too tight. Now, they are saying submit them to us, and weâll see; weâll put them back in. But my concern is that they thought it was okay to remove the health and wellness questions. Tools Route Evaluation Form. Operators use this form to raise concerns with a route to scheduling, operating (route management), or infrastructure staff (stops/washrooms). All route evaluation forms with management responses are posted on an internal website for all employees to review. If a route does not have enough time on a certain trip for the driver to go to the washroom, this is the forum for all to see. Online Route Evaluation Form addressing infrastructure, scheduling, and planning. In the collaboration tool being used to host the Online Route Evaluation Form, operator washrooms are captured in the infrastructure stream under âfacilities.â Operator restroom break. Standard Practice Instruction for both transit operators and supervisors. It sets expectations that operator restroom breaks will occur and should not unnec- essarily delay service/customers and that supervisors need to be mindful of this basic need. âWe deliver $1.7 million revenue trips per year and have not had an incident since the policy was last revised.â Restroom locations. A list of washroom locations and hours of operation is provided for each route. This list is updated for each operator work sign-up (board period is typically 8 weeks). This list is available to all operators. The TA notes that it runs âtrain meetâ services, that is, the washrooms are only available when the trains are running, so that the restricted hours align with its service span. Planner checklist. Description of related criteria for planners and schedulers. Case Study 6: Medium-Sized Transit Agency in Eastern United States We just always need to be aware of this issue and the sense of it and work with the operators as much as possible. Itâs an issue thatâs been around for many, many years. And every transit agency struggles with that. The key is making sure that youâre always thinking about it, so that the operators donât feel theyâre stranded somewhere without the ability to use the restroom. âVice President of Transit Operations Organizational Character This is a medium-sized agency supplying bus, rail, and paratransit services in urban, suburban, and rural areas. The surveys were completed by the vice president of transit operations and by the LU president, who is also a bus operator. Restroom access issues are addressed by operations, service planning, and scheduling. A group interview was conducted with the vice president of transit operations, the senior manager of fixed route, and the senior manager of service planning, and a separate interview was conducted with the LU president. Restroom access is a serious issue, according to the LU,
Supporting Materials 125 and one of the most important issues according to the TA vice president, on specific routes and for specific operators. Restroom access is a problem for passengers as well: âWe have public restrooms at the main transit hub only. It is the most problematic area to keep clean and we do not leave them open 24/7.â Both survey respondents found the transit agencyâs approach to restroom access to be some- what successful, with some problems or concerns in the health arena, safety, and service delivery. The vice president described the agencyâs most effective approach as âWe always support our bus operators if they have to take an unscheduled stop to use the restroom.â The vice president added, âIt is often hard to find businesses at the end of the line with restroom facilities, and bus operators prefer not to have to stop mid-route to use restroom facilities, although it is allowed.â The vice president stressed that many in the management structure have been operators them- selves, and this is a key to their success. They understand the challenges, which helps them to be more flexible and accommodating, âIt transfers over into when youâre making the policies and discussing it with the operators. All of thatâs taken into account because you understand the challenges that are out there.â Primary stakeholders who develop, manage, and have input into policies are the planning department, the service planning department, and the operators themselves. The TA sources felt that beyond those, no other community or organizational stakeholders have been involved because they have not been needed. If problems did arise, then more people would be involved. Operators report any problems with restroom locations, and management addresses the issue or finds another location. It is a challenge to maintain clean restrooms, and there have been frequent complaints from operators, particularly women. These are typically handled via the LU president, but recur: Weâve had so many issues that from time to time I do talk to management about the restrooms. I send e-mails on different issues about what we have. They get addressed once I say something. Then the next thing you know, maybe a month later weâre back to dirty restrooms again. The LU president was told by the agencyâs health insurance broker that there is a high inci- dence of health claims, particularly UTIs among women members, and that this had affected their premium rates. Not surprisingly, the union attributed UTIs to problems with restroom access. It also reported that although operators are allowed by policy to take unscheduled stops for restroom use, recently, a supervisor had not allowed a female driver to do so, but had instead instructed her to use bushes instead of driving her to the nearest restroom facility or offering to take over her bus. In another case, a bus driver had a bowel movement in her clothes when she could not make it to a restroom at a transit station. Her route included a long bridge that did not allow for an earlier restroom stop. Infrastructure The geography of the area affects restroom access. Some routes have geographical challenges that make bathroom access difficult or impossible. There is a long bridge where drivers are unable to stop and there are no restrooms near. There are also long stretches of highway without restrooms and where it would be too dangerous to stop. You could probably identify areas along every part of the route where we wouldnât want them to stop, and thatâs why the instruction is you have to leave some questions up to the operator that they just need to ensure that itâs safe to do so before they stop. The TA plans for geographical challenges and makes sure that there are not extended areas of routes without restroom access. Routes are planned so that there are stretches no longer than around 30 minutes without restroom access. Finding appropriate parking is a bigger challenge than having access to a facility. Management has received complaints that operators have parked
126 Improving the Safety, Health, and Productivity of Transit Operators Through Adequate Restroom Access on grass or on the sidewalk when using the restroom. Management takes these comments seri- ously and closely monitors those situations. Some routes present challenges in finding appropriate restroom options because the end of the route is in a residential area with very few commercial locations available. In these cases, routes are planned without the usual added time at the end of the run. Instead, time is added to other areas of the run, where there are better and safer options for drivers. The most challenging routes are those in residential and low-income neighborhoods, according to the planning manager: âTheyâre devoid of really any business that youâd feel safe going in and using facilities.â In some cases, the operators generate the contacts with businesses because they know the managers or employees. Management then follows up with the businesses, emphasizing their community involvement and stressing to operators that they need to treat businesses with respect. At times, according to a TA staff person, operators do not hold up their end of the deal. There have been times when some businesses donât want our operators to use their facility because the operators arenât doing what they need to do to make sure they donât leave it messy and whatnot. Itâs really a collective effort, because the majority of the time, . . . operators are walking in and not buying anything. That is, they are not customers and they are essentially being done a favor. Although the TA stressed its flexibility, the LU president warned that there can still be reper- cussions for operators who make unscheduled stops: If you stop on certain areas, and youâre not broke down, and use the restroom, thereâs the possibility that you could be harassed by a supervisor. Route Planning Route planning is linked to restroom availability. The senior manager of fixed route service delivery described the agencyâs general bathroom procedures and policies. Routes are designed with restroom access in mind. Authorized restrooms are posted for each route, and route plan- ners try to establish appropriate restrooms at the beginning and end of lines. As new routes are developed and access to facilities changes, routes are changed to accommodate changing needs. If thereâs a new business there while these routes are designed . . . we make sure that we have our service route manager speak with the new development in the area, speak with those storeowners . . . to make sure that we could get access to the restroom for our bus operators. They also figure in parking at non-TA properties: When these routes are designed, we make sure that if thereâs a bus stop in front of a business, that we donât block it, or have any dwell timeâthat we donât sit there in front of that business. The TA HASTUS software for route planning, along with information and relationship- building from route managers: We have service delivery managers who are actually responsible for the routeâend-to-end responsibil- ity. So coupled with the software and the service managers who actually go out on the route, the combina- tion of the two is generally how we handle that situation. We do have businesses along the route where weâre having issues or we need to speak to them about operators using their restrooms. Our managers go in and talk to that business owner and develop that relationship. Scheduling The TA representatives described taking a flexible approach to restroom access by providing operators with a list of facilities, ad hoc communication between operators and management, and building in 10% recovery time in their scheduling. This recovery time is flexible according
Supporting Materials 127 to locationâthat is, less time in high residential areas and more time in areas with facility access points. The TA arranges them so that recovery time occurs at terminals with available restrooms: Our blocks donât necessarily stay on the same routeârarely do theyâbut they do essentially follow a pattern of routes. And so, that could mean that there is more recovery time added at the central terminal, where we have our own facilities with the operators, or it could be additional time at the opposite end of the line. Usually itâs at the central facilities thatâs the next available time that they have to reach another restroom facility. The LU president described some routes that do not have adequate time built in for restroom stops and attributed this to the scheduling departmentâs newer procedures: It falls back on scheduling. They sit behind a computer and make these routes out. And they donât go out and actually drive. Years ago, before they really got technical, they used to drive a route just to coor- dinate the schedule. But now they donât. Everythingâs done by a computer in an office. Service Delivery There is a formal process for operators to use in reporting problems with restrooms. Even so, the most common way operators report problems is in person to managers coming in or out of management offices. The TA sources felt that operators preferred the ad hoc process to the more formal avenue. The LU president was often the conduit for complaints or requests. The vice president for service operations admitted that sometimes the restrooms were not as clean as they should be; issues included menstruation-related messes. The agency appropriately addresses issues that arise: I know I get very few complaints. If we get anything, it might be [that] the location may not be satisfac- tory in reference to the cleanliness, or a storeowner might count [users] or raise an eyebrow. And thatâs when we would send out one of our service managers to meet and talk with them. I donât recall any seri- ous issue with bathroom usage at this property, because it is high priority, and we make every effort to make sure that they have an opportunity to go. The LU representative believes that bathroom cleanliness issues stem from inattentiveness at all levels. When speaking of the cleaning staff, the representative said, âI think they have lazy workers . . . theyâre just sitting around doing nothing.â This laziness ârolls uphillâ to manage- ment, who are not coming to the sites and checking on their cleanliness. Management visits the sites only when there is a major incident. Drivers are crowdsourcing evidence of dirty restrooms to a union Facebook page. Evaluation The vice president for bus operations reported that the TA analyzes costs on delays from unscheduled restroom use, extra run and dwell times for scheduled breaks, and routing modi- fications for restroom accommodations, adding, âWe tend to see more health issues with bus operators than other personnel, but we do not know if it is specific to this issue. Tools The tools reviewed were simple and straightforward printouts of Excel files. The TA pro- vides operators with a list of restroom facilities, but does not limit them to using only those listed. It also indicates the restroom stops on the operatorâs turn sheets, which operators usually carry with them when familiarizing themselves with new routes. The list of restrooms includes route names, street names, locations, and dates. The senior manager maintains the restroom spreadsheet and meets quarterly with the lead role supervisor to make changes and keep it up to date.
128 Improving the Safety, Health, and Productivity of Transit Operators Through Adequate Restroom Access Summary This medium-sized TA and LU leadership take the issues facing bus operators fairly seri- ously. A consistent and responsive approach to planning and to service allows the TA to address problems quickly. Barriers continue in the infrastructural and the organizational arenas. There are route sections where restroom access must be delayed because of the geography or the built environment. However, supervisors who impose restrictions and discipline on operators also make the situation more difficult. Case Study 7: Small Canadian Transit Agency Weâve made such significant change to our network since 2013 that we have consciously, purposely built in appropriate recovery time so that the operators do have a chance. Itâs not only the operators. Itâs for better service reliability as well. Itâs really about service reliability, and a nice byproduct of that is the operators will get a chance to get out and stretch their legs as well. âGeneral Manager Organizational Character This small Canadian TA supplies bus service in urban and suburban areas. The surveys were completed by the LU president and the general manager. Restroom access issues are addressed by operations and labor relations, according to both sources, as well as by human resources, according to the LU president. Interviews were conducted with the chief steward, who is also a bus operator, the general manager, and the transit operations manager. A scheduling committee made up of operators, schedulers, and service planners deals with routing issues but has no formal authority. The committee operates essentially by consensus. Itâs not like bus operators vote on it and they get everything they want. It very much is a collaborative effort, a discussion. At the end of the day, the committee actually doesnât have any power or jurisdiction because everything still will default to the scheduling parameters and our collective agreement. However, the committee does provide very good input in terms of what the priorities are for the operator. âGeneral Manager The general manager described the TAâs policy on restroom access: So here we always say if you need to go to the bathroom, stop where you need to stop at the next washroom and go. Weâve never disciplined anybody for running their bus late [or] because they had to go to the bathroom. Sometimes in our operations center, if we see a bus starting to run late on our GPS, weâll call the operator and ask if everythingâs okay. When asked whether the TA provides drivers with adequate respect around restroom issues, the LU representative replied, No, because I donât think they understand. Thatâs not what they do. Theyâre not experiencing that all of the sudden youâre in the middle of an hour loop, and youâve only left the mall 5 minutes, and you have to go. Theyâve never experienced that in their job because when they have to go at their job they go. You kind of have to be in that situation to really appreciate what it does to you. The LU sources reported that scheduling practices do not reflect current problems reported to the LU. For example, there are dedicated restrooms, but they are described by the LU as too few, dirty, and poorly maintained; moreover, there is not enough time built in for restroom stops. Although operators are allowed to informally use restrooms in public facilities or stores, a main limitation is that these are closed during off-hours. Despite the conflicts related to schedule, the LU felt they were able to work well with the Health and Safety Committee to resolve other restroom issues.
Supporting Materials 129 Infrastructure The transit system is built around hubs and transfer points at which drivers have 24-hour rest- room access. This geographic area is experiencing significant population growth and increased public transportation ridership. Since 2013, TA service demands have grown more than 70%. The general manager acknowledged weather-related challenges: When you have a lot of snow, and routes become terribly delayed, that poses a bit of a challenge when a bus operator is behind the wheel for 4 hours because theyâre so far behind, and theyâve had no break. The LU sources reported capacity issues with the restrooms: Theyâre single-style water closets with a door with a lock, which is really good. But when you have six buses coming in and I see another driver walking to the bathroom then I know I canât go, right? Because by the time heâs done I canât wait for him, I have to take off in my bus. Instead of waiting and delaying their routes, operators will use businesses close to hubs, such as the library or fast-food restaurants. Sometimes drivers will go off route for restroom access: I told them about it on the route, I would just drive to the mall downtown and use the bathroom. I donât care. If I got to go, I got to go, and Iâm going to take the bus off route to do it. The available restrooms are owned either by the city or by the TA; in general, the TA does not have partnerships with businesses to arrange for restroom access. The exception to this is a facility at the shopping mall, which was constructed specifically for transit operatorsâ use. The general manager said that the mall management absolutely recognized the value of ensuring that transit service continues to provide service to their mall, and one of the ways theyâre helping to facilitate that is providing a private facility for our staff. The LU representative believes that route designers have done a âpretty goodâ job working with the environment so that operators have some form of restroom access for each hour of driving. The TA does not provide a list of appropriate restrooms for operatorsâ use: It is well understood where the facilities are that we own and operate. That would be exclusive wash- rooms just to [city] transit staff. But otherwise, operators have figured out the other locations that make sense from a schedule adherence point of view but arenât specifically prescribed as a location. Itâs a great example . . . where we have a public library where the operators will just go into that public library because itâs there and itâs a public facility that is owned by the municipality. âGeneral Manager The TA has recently rented portable facilities, which is not an ideal solution. One of the outlying locations is at the edge of the urban area of the city. Weâve rented a porta potty, and itâs there a year. Itâs a little less pleasant in the winter months, but it is an option available to the operators on that run. Now, if they donât want to use that, 30 minutes later theyâre back at another facility with running water and heat if they want to wait. But we provide that option out there, as a last resort. . . . It is located in a remote area, so itâs not monitored. There have been a few concerns related to security in places and [the] safety of operators who are using that facility. We leave the facilities padlocked, but the padlock, for whatever reason, tends to disappear, and then we put a new padlock on, and it disappears. So we made the effort to keep it secure, but itâs less than ideal; but it does fit a particular need when an operator really has to go. âGeneral Manager The LU expressed frustration about a specific site that has a restroom but had remained locked during all hours. The source, who was also part of the Health and Safety Committee, inspected the restroom and found that it was also filthy. They attempted, through multiple channels, to get access to the restroom, including filing a grievance. The space was opened for operator access in the past year.
130 Improving the Safety, Health, and Productivity of Transit Operators Through Adequate Restroom Access Route Planning The general manager described the agencyâs system as hub-and-spoke, with some routes loop- ing and some being linear. There are also suburban routes that travel through outlying areas. All routes eventually converge at transfer points with restroom facilities. The general manager stated that operators generally have restroom access every 30 minutes, and hourly âat most.â The TA does route planning in 5-year increments. Although restroom availability is not a primary focus in the agencyâs planning, it is a welcome result of it: Weâre doing route reviews right now. Weâre looking at all of our data, so itâs part of those changes where those things are being introduced. Itâs an impetus, but the reason weâre doing that is not directly connected to access to facilities for operators. The byproduct is creating that time to give the operators more time and space to get out and move and to use the bathroom if they need to. âGeneral Manager The agency does not plan adjustments to routes specifically on the basis of restroom access, but rather plans for the ends of routes to be in âhigh-trafficâ areas where facilities already exist. Operators have some input into the planning process, but it is largely defined by management: So when we did our business plan, which started this year, the first yearâs cycle, we have a bus operator committee that provided input into the plan. Those members [who] were selected had to provide to me a written submission about why they wanted to be involved in the process and what they hoped to have come out of the process. Based upon that, I selected those I thought had the best vision for wanting to create a better transit service. I got five applicants and I took everybody because they were all committed to trying to make it better. We met several times and did a broad overview of the whole network. Then we did a route by route review, and it was great. âGeneral Manager Scheduling The agency is currently reworking all of its routes to accommodate for unprecedented growth in the area. As the routes are being adjusted, it is scheduling more consistent layover time. The general manager stated, I would say half of our routes have scheduled layover in them now, and weâre striving to change the remaining half so that there is an appropriate recovery time in them. . . . Some of the routes right now have zero minutes as scheduled layover. Some have 6 minutes of scheduled layover. Somewhere in the middle, you get about 3. The LU representative acknowledged that the TA is working toward better recovery times and understands that it is a process that takes time; however, Itâs not getting a whole lot better because transit keeps growing where we are, so therefore, yeah, theyâre reworking the lines, but weâre getting busier so it ends up being a wash in the end. . . . A lot of routes they donât even build layover time into. Like a lot of the older routes. They basically leave and arrive at the same time, on paper. The TAâs goal is to increase recovery time to around 10% and to have more consistency across routes: â[10%] is kind of what weâre aiming for, but that might be made up over the course of the route [by] adding some time mid-route, if weâre trying to facilitate transfers between routes.â The TA uses HASTUS as its scheduling software, which does not include information about restroom availability. The LU representative reported that the TA did not value or use oper- ator input on scheduling: âThey present us with the schedules, and we look at them and then we can provide input as they say, and then they just put it wherever they want.â The representa- tive described an effort by the TA to institute âprescheduling rosters,â which would âassign us our days off with our weekends or whatever they deemed to be a good scheduleâso, basically getting rid of all of our seniority.â The union blocked this proposal from becoming policy.
Supporting Materials 131 Despite the conflicts related to schedule, the LU felt they were able to work well with the Health and Safety Committee to resolve other restroom issues. Service Delivery Unscheduled restroom use along routes does not seem to slow down service: It generally doesnât have an overall impact. There is a route or two that maybe is a bit tight, that . . . runs a bit late generally, so when they do have to go to the washroom, you do see that impact, but we have ways to deal with that. That is in our plan to fix that route specifically so that we can have that tied in for that relief. . . . The only time we have an issue is if the toilets malfunction out in the various locations we have, but it certainly is not a topic of conversation. . . . I cannot think of the last complaint we had where somebody complained because the bus operator went to the bathroom. From a service impact, I donât have any hard data. âGeneral Manager Nonetheless, the LU sources reported that it was stressful to use the restroom while on route, in part because of customer responses: We have people who have to get to work, and theyâre trying to get to where they want to go. And nobody likes to be yelled at. So when you get back to the bus and you get back to work theyâre going to be upset. Eventually, you get a thick skin and, âsorry, I had to go to the bathroom,â and away you go. But for the newer drivers, especially, itâs very difficult. One restroom-related incident was interpreted differently by the TA and the LU. An opera- tor used a restroom in a coffee shop. She felt embarrassed, bought a coffee on the way out, and, according to the LU, âgot back to her bus 1 minute late, and general manager wrote her up for it.â The LU believes that, if the operator had purchased a water instead of a coffee, there wouldnât have been any repercussions, saying, Itâs a liquid, right? Most people donât associate it has to be a water or else youâre going to get in trouble. That itâs, I need something to drinkâthey go into a coffee shop, what are you going to get? Youâre going to get a coffee. Thatâs pretty typical. The TA has a different perspective about the incident: I think the issue we had connected to that is, if they go to a bathroom and they stop at the coffee shop on the way back from the bathroom, and they come back with a coffee in their hand, thatâs more of a complaint that we get. So I think everybody appreciates that everybody has to go to the bathroom. Going to the bathroom is probably not a big issue once you provide an explanation to our passengers, but trying to explain that they went to the bathroom and they came back with a coffee is harder to justify. There are several communication channels for operators to give feedback on any issue, includ- ing restroom use: [Thereâs a] whiteboard question-and-answer board where they could write comments or questions, or their thoughts, or requests . . . , and we respond to those in writing in a very public way on the board. They could more formally make a request through our health and safety process. If there was a health and safety concernâthereâs a formalized process we follow to address health and safety concerns. And they could raise it in that way. Itâs a unionized environment, so of course they could bring the issue forward through their various union representatives if they wanted to have it dealt with in that way. âGeneral Manager The TA has a high turnover rate for newer operators. Its approach to hiring focuses more on the customer service aspect of job than on experience as a driver. Youâre trying to find out not just the person that can drive the bus, but the person that wants to make sure that that rider is enjoying that ride, so you need the skills of an operator thatâs going to drive a large vehicle, but also with the finesse of the right type of person that wants to be there and wants to really impact somebodyâs day in a positive way. . . . That is the most critical factor in our expansion right now. Itâs the thing I probably lose the most sleep over. It is increasingly, increasingly difficult to find and attract the right type of person to this role.
132 Improving the Safety, Health, and Productivity of Transit Operators Through Adequate Restroom Access The LU sources described this approach from a different perspective: âThey think the cus- tomer service aspect that youâre going to get from working at a place like [a fast-food restaurant] is more important than the driving aspect that youâre going to get from having been a profes- sional driver.â Evaluation The general manager reported that they do not analyze costs separately or collect other restroom-related data. Supervisors track buses by a GPS system and can see delays and investi- gate causes where appropriate. Tools The TA communicates with operators though a cell phone application: Itâs a little app on your computer, and we can communicate text messages to our operators one-on- one or in a broad group. If we have a change, a security code change or anything else thatâs critical to the operation, weâll send a text out. The TA did not provide any other examples of tools it uses. Case Study 8: Small Transit Agency in Midwest If you really want to be in tune with what your people are doing, drive the bus and ride the bus because thatâs their office 8 hours a day. Organizational Character The survey for this very small TA was completed by the transportation division director (TDD), who also participated in two interviews. The TA had supplied bus and paratransit service in the city area only, but it was beginning to coordinate services with a neighboring town and expand its routes. The TDD reported very good relations with the bus operators. In the absence of a labor union, this TDD champions the operators and recently held a series of meetings to get their input on route planning and restroom access as well as suggestions for new bus features. At the time of the survey, restroom access was felt to be a serious and persistent problem, especially on specific routes, and for passengers as well. The ultimate decision makers about routes and schedules are locally elected officials, that is, the mayor and council members as well as the city administrator. Labor relations and human resources are also run at the municipal level. Because the city is small, the TDD has immediate access to the decision makers, but they were not initially responsive to his concerns: âThere is no policy or practice. It needs to be incor- porated sometime. The issue has been brought up to HR [human resources] with no results.â With no formal policy, the TDD and managers tell drivers to stop if they need to, even if it delays service. Many still hesitate to make unscheduled stops, out of concern about the impact on the riders as much as anything else. The city council and the mayor make decisions about route planning. They had not been responsive to requests for bus operatorsâ restroom access improvements, according to the TDD; neither was the municipal human resources department when it was approached about setting up a policy on medical accommodations. At least two operators left the job because it did not adapt to their needs. Until recently, bus service had been provided on seven routes during the day (except Sunday), with one evening bus. There was ongoing pressure from the city council to reduce services, as ridership had fallen. In the past 2 years, support for the bus service from the city council has improved. The metropolitan planning organizationâs transportation needs evaluation, carried out in the face of significant loss of ridership and other changes, has led to routes based on that research. As of summer 2018, the evening service was increased to four
Supporting Materials 133 buses, and three routes were added during the day, along with route revisions. Other service increases were projected. In between the first interview in December and the second in June, the TDD continued to col- lect information to present to the route planning group and the city council members. The route planners ran focus groups about service needs in which they consulted bus drivers, members of the public, and significant service users. Infrastructure Let me fill you in with what has taken place over the years, just so you can follow through with this. Originally when I first started with the transit company back in â85, we used what they call our [mall]. We only had a little booth in there for selling tickets and answering some questions and using a public rest- room. When the flood hit our area, it flooded out all of our city. Thatâs when we had a real battle with our city council who had for some time wanted to get rid of the bus service altogether, and we turned around and fought and fought, so finally they moved us to a parking lot. At that time, we had no restrooms what- soever available for our drivers. And so we said weâve got to have a place to really have a restroom break. Weâve got to have a decent office. Weâve got to have a place to sell tickets, and all of the things that go with it. So we finally got a transit center, if you consider a couple of rooms a transit center. So weâve got a small little office, [with coffee]. I call it a compartment with the waiting area for people to wait. You couldnât get more than 20 people in there if you had to, and thereâs two bathrooms. And they originally had it set up for a male bathroom and a female bathroom. Well, then they decided that the drivers need to have their own bathrooms. So we made it a community bathroom, as I call them, for anybody on one side, and both male and female on the other side, and that would be just for our drivers. A single restroom for transit staff is available during standard working hours at the small public transit center. To make sure that bus operators did not share the restroomâboth to reduce delays and maintain cleanlinessâthe two existing restrooms had been divided between employees and the public. The result was a multistall restroom used by male and female opera- tors, one person at a time, with a key-locked door. The TDD learned from that experience: âIf we ever had to do it all over again for a transit center, I would definitely make sure we had public restrooms that are both male and female, and staff restrooms that are both male and female.â Following an increase in evening service, bus operators have now been provided with keys to the transit center for off-hour use. In addition to the transit center, private-sector and civic groups are increasingly initiating transit-oriented development; in some cases, providing restrooms goes along with that. For example, a church that recently bought a mall property and a motel at the end of one line has provided restroom access in its facilities to support the drivers who bring its members and customers. The issues are less pressing for paratransit drivers, as they can typically use any public build- ing, including clinics where they deliver and pick up clients. The city has recently created a transportation development plan with a nearby town, address- ing facilities improvement and additional routes. The TDD is advocating for additional des- ignated restrooms and building facilities where practical. Recent route changes did provide an opportunity to consider restroom access in the process. Increased resources from multiple federal, state, and regional sources have allowed recent capital upgrades, including plans for the main facility and paratransit to become ADA compliant. Restrooms may be improved in the process. Route Planning and Scheduling The scheduled recovery and dwell times are short and do not take restroom access into account. Because there is only one restroom available at the transit center, bus operators may have to wait. Despite the support of the TDD, many will skip the restroom to get their buses out on time. Overall, the routes have not allowed for unscheduled stops, and services are typically not available at the ends of lines. Several routes do not go to the transit center. The scheduled
134 Improving the Safety, Health, and Productivity of Transit Operators Through Adequate Restroom Access runs, covering one or two routes, are between 1 and 2 hours in duration. In the winter and other bad weather, they are frequently longer. In the morning, itâs not bad. You can probably get a 5-minute break to use the restroom about every hour and a half to 2 hours. In the afternoon, starting at about 2:00, youâre lucky you even have a break going into the restroom. The TDD has been working to get restroom locations and walking times considered in the routes and scheduling and has requested policies for medical accommodations, all unsuccess- fully at the time of the interviews. Together, the TDD, managers, and drivers continue to work on defining reasonable schedules and layover and dwell times for the routes. The number of restrooms has increased, but so have the routes. A policy on accommodating drivers with health needs is still needed. So in this battle now with our transportation development plan, . . . I told them, âI donât care what happens, but you are going to somehow figure a way of scheduling a break time for these drivers to use the restroom. . . . Iâve had drivers come in to the meeting with me and say, âLook, I need to have a rest- room somewhere along these routes.â So we have made notes to the consultant thatâs doing the study and ultimately made note to council members; we made note to the mayor, and we physically made a letter to pass . . . out to many people, too, so that they understand that this is a concern that he should be handling. Evaluation and Tools The TA collects data on the impact of restroom access but has not analyzed the costs asso- ciated with unscheduled use. The TDD and the service managers encourage operators to docu- ment restroom issues on their daily vehicle checkout sheets. The TDD is in the process of revising the sheet to ask for more directed feedback and plans to maintain a spreadsheet on these concerns. As far as he knows, no other data concerning restroom access are collected or used at any point. We tell them, âYou know, youâre going to have to just use the restroom. Keep us posted.â What weâre doing is documenting it and making note of it so that we can try and use that as our evidence that we have and bring it forward to see what we can do. . . . You canât fix it by yourself. You have to have the proof, and the evidence; they need us to prove it for them. Thatâs why I ask them, if youâve got a problem, mark it down on the sheet of paper. Part 2. Toolbox Contents Four tools developed for TCRP Project F-25 are available on the TRB website (trb.org) on the summary web page for TCRP Research Report 216: â¢ Transit Operator Restroom Inventory Tools, â¢ Transit Operator Restroom Access Planning Tools, â¢ Transit Operator Restroom Access Cost Estimation Tools, and â¢ Templates for Restroom Access Policies and Boilerplate Contract Language. All tools may be freely used and adapted with attribution to TCRP Research Report 216: Improving the Safety, Health, and Productivity of Transit Operators Through Adequate Restroom Access. Transit Operator Restroom Inventory Tools (.xlsx format) This Excel workbook consists of six pages: an explanatory overview, four modifiable work- sheets, and a set of resources. The set of data collection and tracking tools will allow transit agencies to inventory and inspect existing restrooms, find new locations, measure and record distances to restrooms, and identify and connect stakeholder groups. The worksheets are as follows: Walking Time Calculator: Calculates needed layover or schedule flexibility for restroom access from distance to other parameters set. It is based on the estimated walking times from the MUTCD (FHWA 2009) reference on walking speed.
Supporting Materials 135 Facility Finder Inspection Checklist: Designed for data collection in different phases, the initial identification of locations, and ongoing inspections. The initial selection cell allows the user to print out separate sheets. The TAâs information technology staff can integrate the ques- tions to create a phone or tablet app for automated, on-the-ground data collection, moving the information into the Facility Data Spreadsheet. InventoryâClosest Restrooms to Routes: Used to catalog the closest restroom locations to transit routes. It includes fields for operation hours, layover location, capacity, time needed at location, access limits, and business names, among others. It combines the information needed for operator paddles. Facility Data Spreadsheet: Designed for input related to a restroom facilityâs features. Includes columns for the number of stalls, units, gender designations, and sinks and whether there are fixtures that provide feminine hygiene, among others. Transit Operator Restroom Access Planning Tools (.xlsx format) Input by Department Checklist: Used to explore the status and role of each department in restroom access activities. The checklist can be adjusted to suit various department consultations and converted to separate surveys. Needs Assessment Chart: Designed to help assess organizational needs and resources. The core questions and discussion guide can also be printed out and used as a checklist for on-site inspections or discussions. The questions are linked to relevant tools and sources of information, including collecting existing information collected for other reasons, focus group or anecdotal data, observational data, and video data. The checklist can be annotated with plan- ning notes. Development and Planning Steps: A framework for anticipating and following through on the important decision points affecting restroom decisions that can occur in the TA, within the community, and regionally. These include a defined set of decision points for anticipating upcoming or recurring events, the expected time frame, the organizations and other TA depart- ments involved, contacts for each, and notes. All of the categories can be modified as needed. Resources: A list of additional resources on restroom access campaigns, legal background, and labor materials. Transit Operator Restroom Access Cost Estimation Tools (.xlsx format) This set of linked spreadsheets allows transit agencies to estimate, track, and evaluate their own costs. It links cost types, calculates totals, and presents the results in charts. Restroom Costs Inventory: Used to chart current restroom costs and estimate costs associ- ated with proposed operational changes, organizational changes, or capital plans. Direct Operating Costs: Sums proposed route change costs, wages costs and savings of pro- posed changes, schedule improvements and service reduction savings, other direct operating costs, and overhead. The totals are carried over into the total costs sheet. Other Direct Costs: Combines costs related to facilities access, operating, and leases and agreements. Administrative Costs: Covers staff time not related to service provision, such as restroom committees and planning and external administration for facilities planning or product development.
136 Improving the Safety, Health, and Productivity of Transit Operators Through Adequate Restroom Access Capital Costs: Lays out permanent and temporary restroom costs, land access and purchase, site and stations improvements, and potential savings. Total Costs: Brings all these together in a simple table and chart. There are also an optional Pay Rates Sheet that can link to the costs sheets to simplify wage and salary changes and a CostsâBenefits sheet that is presented in beta format for TAs to develop. Templates for Restroom Access Policies and Boilerplate Contract Language (.docx format) This tool provides restroom access policies and boilerplate contract language. Roles in Improving Restroom Access: Lists all the stakeholders and their potential contribu- tions to restroom access activities. General Restroom Survey for Vehicle Operators (Example): Provides an example of how the roles tool can be edited to create a needs and practices survey for each group of stakeholders. Bus Operator Restroom Access Basic Policy: Defines management policy for operators tak- ing required restroom stops during the course of their duties. Detailed Transit Operator Restrooms Policy: Defines management support for restroom access. (Adapted with permission from the King County Metro policy.) Restroom Inspection Report Card for Field Inspections and Restroom Inspection Report Card for Vehicle Operators: Checklists to be used by the restroom team, field inspectors, and operators to report on the status of a restroom. These checklists are based on the Inventory- Finder/Inspection Sheet in the Transit Operator Restroom Inventory Tools. As with that format, it can be integrated into the TAâs online data collection system. Compliance Checklist for OSHA Standard 141(c): Toilet Facilities: Can be adapted for use by the restroom team or used to prepare for an inspection. The relevant standard sections and interpretations are covered in Chapter 2 of the report. Use and Lease Agreements: Covers the different vendor relationships identified by TAs. Includes a simple access agreement, a reimbursement for supplies or per capita usage, and clean- ing and maintenance arrangements. Part 3. Compendium of Good Practices Organizational Policies and Practices Acknowledge and involve stakeholders. â¢ Review organizational chart in the context of restroom access. â¢ Recruit engagement. â¢ Engage external stakeholders. Encourage operators to use restrooms as needed. â¢ Establish written policy supporting adequate scheduled layovers. â¢ Establish written policy supporting adequate unscheduled and off-property restroom use. â¢ Establish policy of no disciplinary action for restroom-related delays. â¢ Define and publish call-in policy and codes. â¢ Distribute notifications and memos endorsing policy to operators and supervision. â¢ Cover issues in all modes.
Supporting Materials 137 Manage and fund staff resources. â¢ Define and support staff roles. â¢ Designate a coordinator or point person. â¢ Schedule meetings to discuss issuesâoperations and interdepartmental. â¢ Dedicate staff time to restroom concerns. â¢ Establish restroom committee to coordinate input and decisions. â¢ Provide paid release time for operators. Assess restroom-related needs and issues. â¢ Determine what titles, routes, and times have restroom access issues. â¢ Explore restroom access history. â¢ Collect data on related costs and impacts. â¢ Define special needs and situations that may need accommodation. Infrastructure Policies and Practices Assess restroom resources. â¢ Catalog available and potential restrooms. â¢ Identify current restroom conditions. â¢ Coordinate with stakeholders. Install or renovate facilities where needed. â¢ Anticipate future locations, times, and volume of operator need. â¢ Communicate with and influence transit-oriented development. â¢ Communicate early with capital planning. â¢ Renovate existing resources to meet requirements. â¢ Plan employee-only restrooms in all transit agency buildings and partnership construction. â¢ Deploy high-quality, secure temporary facilities as needed. â¢ Adjust resources in response to changes. Planning and Scheduling Policies and Practices Planning and scheduling policies support restroom access. â¢ Written policy directs route planners and schedulers to consider restroom access. â¢ Layover and dwell times match restroom access needs. â¢ Time between restroom access opportunities is minimized. â¢ Planned route terminals are set near existing or planned restroom facilities. â¢ Existing routes are adjusted to be near restroom facilities. â¢ Routes are evaluated and adjusted as demand and infrastructure change. Route planners and schedulers communicate with other stakeholders. â¢ Planners and schedulers ask where operators will use restrooms. â¢ Planners and schedulers engage with infrastructure decision makers and with service delivery. â¢ Operators are involved in route planning and scheduling. Route and schedule decisions make good use of software and data. â¢ Planners and schedulers take advantage of software capabilities. â¢ Mapping techniques are used to connect routes and restrooms. â¢ Planners and schedulers use available data and generate data they need. â¢ Time needed to use restrooms is calculated on the basis of distance and barriers.
138 Improving the Safety, Health, and Productivity of Transit Operators Through Adequate Restroom Access Service Delivery Policies and Practices Rules for restroom access reduce service impact. â¢ Keep transit agency restrooms employee only. â¢ Choose gender-neutral facilities if single or separated stalls; otherwise, two separate gendered facilities are required. â¢ Reduce delays related to requesting keys or tokens. Adequate restroom access is available along routes and at layovers. â¢ Maintain database of locations including commercial and public facilities. â¢ Provide updated lists to operators. â¢ Communicate with host locations. â¢ Establish contracts with host locations as needed. â¢ Adjust to temporary and permanent changes (e.g., construction, parades). â¢ Provide relief driver when needed. Restroom quality is maintained. â¢ Meet OSHA sanitation standards (toilet paper, soap, running water for washing hands, towels or dryers, light and heat when needed, and use of portable toilets as a temporary solution). â¢ Ensure safety (locks, protected space, lighting). â¢ Arrange for cleaning and supplies. â¢ Inspect restrooms regularly. â¢ Schedule and carry out maintenance. Evaluation and Costs Policies and Practices Establish continuous evaluation and improvement, including stakeholder review of conditions. â¢ Identify areas where policies do not match practices. â¢ Measure satisfaction with policies and practices (operators, management). â¢ Hold regular and ad hoc discussions with operators and supervisors. â¢ Include restroom access on route feedback forms including maintenance issues. â¢ Review inspections and complaints for patterns. â¢ Measure impact on key indicators (service delivery, availability, safety) before and after imple- menting changes. Assess and contain costs. â¢ Evaluate restroom-related delays. â¢ Reduce dwell time by changing restroom access points. â¢ Improve on-time service delivery by addressing access in scheduling. â¢ Limit absenteeism by accommodating those with health concerns. â¢ Leverage cost relative to benefits at key decision points. â¢ Implement an energy efficient and sustainable process.