TriMet, union agree on bus drivers' shift limits

TriMet, union agree on bus drivers' shift limits
File photo

PORTLAND, Ore. – TriMet bus drivers will soon be required to take 10 hours off between shifts.

They will also be limited to 14-hour workdays, as part of a new tentative agreement between TriMet management and the Amalgamated Transit Union.

An investigation by The Oregonian found bus drivers were having trouble staying awake while driving because some were working up to 22 hours in a 24-hour period.

“After two days of negotiations, we’re pleased that we have reached a change in policy,” TriMet General Manager Neil McFarlane said in a statement. “It eliminates all the ‘double-back’ shifts, where a bus operator could work some 20 hours in a 24 hour period with limited time off. This will improve the safety of our operation for our employees and for our riders.”

The agreement will go into effect once it’s signed, TriMet spokeswoman Mary Fetsch said in a news release. It will stay in effect until a new contract between TriMet and the union is in place.

“This is a major improvement, and one TriMet has been seeking for the last 2 1/2 years because it means a bus operator must have 9 or 10 hours off after they have concluded their assignment, rather than being able to take just a few hours off,” said Fetsch.