Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Drugs, Alcohol Cost Metro, You

On this St. Patrick's Day, it's only appropriate to examine Metro's apparent problem with boozing and drugging bus drivers.

Personnel costs eat up a lot of any organization's budget, but when you have to fire 38 people in a year due to drug and alcohol problems, as reported in the Examiner, these costs skyrocket.

In the report, Jackie Jeter, a union leader maintains the "number of bus drivers fired for substance abuse in 2008 represented a small fraction of the total bus drivers the system employs ... less than 2 percent."

The report adds the following:

"All drivers are tested for drugs and alcohol before hiring. They also are tested after every crash. They may additional face testing if the agency has suspicions of substance abuse — or as part of a random testing program. On a first violation, drivers who have been employees for at least six months then get referred to a rehabilitation program, Jeter said. If they drop out or fail another drug test, she said, they then lose their jobs."

These costs add up.

Given the spate of recent driver incidents such as the McGruff attack, Metro has issues a press release announcing it is "reviewing hiring practices and procedures."

One has to wonder what's going on with the train conductors, who certainly have a less demanding job. Maybe this explains all jerky stops and starts.

Do you think Metro should have a "zero tolerance" rule for drugs and alcohol?

Other news:
A rather dull Q&A with AGM of Planning and Joint Development Nat Bottigheimer
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