Metro Management: Public not at risk from drowsy drivers

Transit agency denies union claims of too much overtime

Kevin Killeen
August 22, 2019 - 3:12 pm

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) — Metro management denies the union's claim that public safety is at risk from drowsy drivers working lots of overtime.

Bi-State Development CEO Taulby Roach says the public is safe because the transit agency follows federal guidelines on how long drivers can drive.

"We have limits that are established by the feds," Roach said, "and we do not exceed those maximum limits to be sure that our drivers are alert."

Related: Metro transit system begins relocation, removal of about 400 bus stops

The transit union disagrees. It claims many drivers are working six days a week, 60 hours or more and the public safety is at risk.

"I mean, you're talking about operator fatigue, increase in accidents, and potential harm to — not only the operator — but the driving public as well," said Transit Union Local 788 Treasurer Antoian Johnson.

Johnson says 10 years ago, Metro transit had some 1,300 drivers total for its buses and trains — and now it has only 900.

Roach admits there's a driver shortage. He says the system is down about 50 drivers. 

The union has been working without a contract since July 1.  Earlier this week many drivers called in sick or refused to work overtime, causing buses some buses to run hours late. Contract talks are set to resume Friday.

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