Metro bus drivers make more than $100,000 in pay

More than 100 Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority bus and train operators took home paychecks topping $100,000 in fiscal 2006 because of lush overtime earnings that have skewed Metro’s budget and sent pension costs spiraling out of control under a uniquely generous employee retirement plan.
Overall, Metro paid its employees $70 million in overtime in 2006 and is on track to spend the same amount in this budget year, according to a recent audit report, continuing a trend of high overtime costs that have plagued Metro’s budgets for years.

Roughly $30 million of the overtime payments went to Metro’s 2,400 bus operators and 500 train operators, 125 of whom earned more than $100,000 that year. Another 284 hourly Metro workers in other departments earned more than $100,000 because of overtime. Only 180 of Metro’s salaried management employees earned more than $100,000.

In some cases, the overtime wages accounted for nearly half of an operator’s annual paycheck, meaning the employee is working significantly more than the usual 40 hours each week. Thirty operators took home more than $50,000 in overtime.

The two highest-paid train operators, who earned $153,759 and $152,891 respectively, earned $74,208 and $73,659 in overtime. The highest-paid bus operators collected $127,653 and $126,457, received $53,696 and $52,490, in overtime. In other cases, overtime accounted for almost 50 percent of an employee’s paychecks in 2006.

examiner.com/a-669683~Metro_drivers_make__100_000_in_pay.html

Wow! Nuclear scientists make less than that! Unbelievable.

Bet the majority of posters on this Forum wouldn’t turn those salaries down!

[quote="mjs1987, post:1, topic:192483"]
examiner.com/a-669683~Metro_drivers_make__100_000_in_pay.html

Wow! Nuclear scientists make less than that! Unbelievable.

[/quote]

Think about this: they make the money through OVERTIME!!!!!!!!! -- not their regular salary.

Also, consider that the average salary here (not considering overtime) is $76,000 per year. And also, consider that a townhouse (not a single-family house, but a townhouse) in a decent, safe, neighborhood in the DC metro area cost well over $300,000 per year back in 2006 (peak of the housing bubble). Shouldn't a career bus driver or train driver be able to raise his or her kids in a decent area with schools that do a reasonable job?

One other thing: it is likely that it would be cheaper for WMATA to pay them overtime rather than to hire additional workers, due to the high cost of fringe benefits.

Around here, due to the high cost of living, $100K is not that extraordinary a salary. It's above average, but not even close to rich.

[quote="markomalley, post:3, topic:192483"]
Think about this: they make the money through OVERTIME!!!!!!!!! -- not their regular salary.

Also, consider that the average salary here (not considering overtime) is $76,000 per year. And also, consider that a townhouse (not a single-family house, but a townhouse) in a decent, safe, neighborhood in the DC metro area cost well over $300,000 per year back in 2006 (peak of the housing bubble). Shouldn't a career bus driver or train driver be able to raise his or her kids in a decent area with schools that do a reasonable job?

One other thing: it is likely that it would be cheaper for WMATA to pay them overtime rather than to hire additional workers, due to the high cost of fringe benefits.

Around here, due to the high cost of living, $100K is not that extraordinary a salary. It's above average, but not even close to rich.

[/quote]

Im from the DC area if you didnt notice from my hometown. Ive lived in Bethesda, Great Falls, Kensington, Herndon and now Ashburn. I know what the cost of living is. I also know that south and east of the city in Maryland does not cost as much. PG County is a lot more affordable than most areas as is Charles, Calvert and Howard. Even Anne Arundel is affordable. Heck even most of the suburbs that are commuting distance like Loudoun, MoCo and Fairfax as well as Arlington and Alexandria are affordable on a 76K salary.

Bus and train drivers can find decent schools. It doesnt HAVE to be in Dupont Circle or Friendship Heights or Georgetown or Cleveland Park. There are suburbs that are cheaper than the city where hundreds of thousands make the commute. Heck, a lot of people commute from Hagerstown and Martinsburg and even Winchester!! Many commute from Culpeper and Fredericksburg, its crazy.

With metro facing budget shortfalls and charging 5.45 for one way fare in rush hour plus 4.50 a day for parking you would think the workers making the most should cut back. 153K is WAY more than majority make and survive on the DC area.

Overtime makes it worse. If they are grossing that much from overtime no wonder why metro has been having so many accidents lately. It cannot be safe for workers putting in that much overtime.

[quote="mjs1987, post:4, topic:192483"]
Im from the DC area if you didnt notice from my hometown. Ive lived in Bethesda, Great Falls, Kensington, Herndon and now Ashburn. I know what the cost of living is. I also know that south and east of the city in Maryland does not cost as much. PG County is a lot more affordable than most areas as is Charles, Calvert and Howard. Even Anne Arundel is affordable. Heck even most of the suburbs that are commuting distance like Loudoun, MoCo and Fairfax as well as Arlington and Alexandria are affordable on a 76K salary.

[/quote]

I didn't notice your hometown.

I live in PG county. And unless you want to live in Capitol Heights, Suitland, or the like (DC Ward 9), you're going to pay a pretty penny for a house. Yes, not as bad as Mont. Co, Fairfax, or Loudon, but it isn't like housing is free either. I used to go to St. Ignatius in Oxon Hill...used to drive past a group of townhouses on the way there that they advertised for $185k...in 1999. (If you live anywhere in this area, you know Oxon Hill is not exactly "the right side of the tracks").

As far as Anne Arundel: yeah, if you chose to live in Brooklyn, you could do so comfortably on $76k a year...but why would you want to make somebody live in Brooklyn? Or the affordable parts of Glen Burnie, for that matter? You're not going to find anything decent in Annapolis, Davidsonville, or Edgewood for that matter.

As for Charles County...sure, if you live in Newberg or someplace south of La Plata, you could get a decent place for fairly cheap, but have you ever done the commute up 301 / 5 / Indian Head highway before? IMHO, it's every bit as bad, if not worse, than the commute on I-66.

You're right...somebody could live in Hagarstown and do it. They could also live in York PA for that money, too.

Bus and train drivers can find decent schools. It doesnt HAVE to be in Dupont Circle or Friendship Heights or Georgetown or Cleveland Park. There are suburbs that are cheaper than the city where hundreds of thousands make the commute. Heck, a lot of people commute from Hagerstown and Martinsburg and even Winchester!! Many commute from Culpeper and Fredericksburg, its crazy.

It is crazy. And people shouldn't have to live like that. That's why I don't begrudge people their salaries. Ever.

I don't think people should have to either commute 2-1/2 hours or more or alternatively live in an MS-13 infested area. If they are able to work for a wage where they can live in reasonable housing (no, not Great Falls, but maybe Vienna? Maybe not Bethesda, but north Silver Spring?), then I say God Bless them.

With metro facing budget shortfalls and charging 5.45 for one way fare in rush hour plus 4.50 a day for parking you would think the workers making the most should cut back. 153K is WAY more than majority make and survive on the DC area.

Is that a reason to resent the workers for taking advantage of the situation, or is that a reason to question the management?

You’ve got to go where the money is. These metro drivers probably don’t have big student loans burdening them either.

Undoubtedly. I remember WMATA doing a lot of recruiting with separating military when I was getting ready to retire. They gave briefings at the transition assistance program briefings and were at all the job fairs.

BTW, do you remember back at the peak employment time when the fast food places and retail places used to give sign-on bonuses and retention bonuses (like for sticking around for six months)?

Back then, it was almost impossible for folks to find good help for the wages they could pay.

(Of course, it’s not really that way now anymore)

[quote="markomalley, post:3, topic:192483"]
Think about this: they make the money through OVERTIME!!!!!!!!! -- not their regular salary.

Also, consider that the average salary here (not considering overtime) is $76,000 per year. And also, consider that a townhouse (not a single-family house, but a townhouse) in a decent, safe, neighborhood in the DC metro area cost well over $300,000 per year back in 2006 (peak of the housing bubble). Shouldn't a career bus driver or train driver be able to raise his or her kids in a decent area with schools that do a reasonable job?

One other thing: it is likely that it would be cheaper for WMATA to pay them overtime rather than to hire additional workers, due to the high cost of fringe benefits.

Around here, due to the high cost of living, $100K is not that extraordinary a salary. It's above average, but not even close to rich.

[/quote]

I agree with you 100%.

I would not be willing to drive a bus all day for 100k, it sounds like a terribly boring job and a waste of a life IMO. I’d rather do something interesting for less.

Why are people so outraged over these kinds of salaries anyway? Bus driving is a necessary occupation, and it’s such a disgustingly boring but needed job that people who perform it deserve the money.

Who would you rather get paid a lot?

Some people like boring jobs, especially high paying boring jobs. No stress. Lots of money. And at the rate the economy is going, the time will come when people will be glad for any job, boring or not, high paying or not.

I don’t drive a bus, but I used to ride them all over the place here in Los Angeles (yes, Los Angeles has a pretty good public transportation system) and based on what I’ve seen, driving Metro buses is not a stress-free job. Passengers can be terribly rude and driving in LA is no piece of cake considering the lack of ability of people around here to know where they are and prepare to turn or exit the freeway before they get to the turn or exit (but I digress! LOL). Frankly, I don’t think I’d drive a Metro bus for $150,000/yr because I’d end up biting someone’s head off.

[quote="LCMS_No_More, post:11, topic:192483"]
I don't drive a bus, but I used to ride them all over the place here in Los Angeles (yes, Los Angeles has a pretty good public transportation system) and based on what I've seen, driving Metro buses is not a stress-free job. Passengers can be terribly rude and driving in LA is no piece of cake considering the lack of ability of people around here to know where they are and prepare to turn or exit the freeway before they get to the turn or exit (but I digress! LOL). Frankly, I don't think I'd drive a Metro bus for $150,000/yr because I'd end up biting someone's head off.

[/quote]

I agree it would not be stress free. Maybe they should pay more!

It boils down to this: If the Metro bus service can bring in the revenues to cover the expenses, then more power to them. However, if they are running at a loss and subsidizing with taxpayer funds, then its a waste (unless nobody else will work for less, which I doubt it).

The salary paid should commensurate with the value delivered.

The other point deals with the non-salary costs of employment. When employers make a decision to plan for overtime vice hiring, that is a true measure of how expensive it is to have an employee.

Consider that life insurance, health insurance, and other fringe benefit costs remain the same for an employee, no matter how many hours he/she is scheduled to work. Then, figure that if they hired another employee to work for their base rate, they’d have to pay out another set of fringe benefits. If the fringe benefits are lucrative and costly, it could well work out to be far cheaper to pay multiple employees for 20 hours a week @150% of wages compared to paying for an additional person’s fringe)

Hi Mark. I went to college for six years to earn my degree, always working part or full time to support myself. Now I like my job, but I often work overtime without compensation, as I’m a salaried employee. I don’t even make the base pay of these bus drivers.

What would you say I deserve? Do I deserve to make enough to buy a house here in the washington area? Does the world or some sense of cosmic justice owe me that? Or am I just a sucker for working my *** off for years only to make less than someone who wakes up in the morning and* drives a bus? *

You just made the case against a “living wage”. There must be a tie between salary and the value of work performed.

Sounds like you need a better union :wink:

Seriously, there’s always an upside and a downside to the labor laws. I, too, rarely work only 80 hours a pay period and am, like you, an exempt employee. On the other hand, if, on occasion, I work 72 hours in a pay period, I still get paid for the full pay period.
*
What would you say I deserve?* You don’t ***deserve ***anything based upon your education alone. You don’t deserve ***anything ***that you didn’t negotiate with your employer. Sorry, but that’s the way it is (Read Rerum Novarum). You are also not a slave. You have the liberty to find something else that meets your needs better than your existing job.

Do I deserve to make enough to buy a house here in the washington area? There you go with that deserve word. So you’ve got a college degree (and likely a ton of student debt) and now think the world owes you a living? Here’s some news: it doesn’t. Sorry.

The world doesn’t owe me a living either.

Sounds to me like you have a roof over your head, clothes on your back, and, likely, three squares in your tummy. You are even rich enough to have a computer and Internet connection. Do you know how many people in the world don’t have a computer and Internet connection?

You don’t think you’re getting paid what you deserve? Find a job that pays a bit better and work your butt off for a year and then find another job that moves you up a little more. That’s how it works, friend. You earn your living…you’re not bestowed your living.

Does the world or some sense of cosmic justice owe me that? No.

*Or am I just a sucker for working my *** off for years only to make less than someone who wakes up in the morning and drives a bus? *That is the most elitist, arrogant statement I’ve heard in a long, long time. What makes you think that you are any better than a person who drives a bus…or, for that matter, the person who picks up your garbage? Let me tell you something: you’re not.

(self-censored)

[quote="shockerfan, post:16, topic:192483"]
You just made the case against a "living wage". There must be a tie between salary and the value of work performed.

[/quote]

But in practice, the value of the work performed is determined by what someone is willing to pay for it. The only other way would be set pay scales by government fiat.

If there's a shortage of good plumbers and an oversupply of college grads, plumbers are going to get the better pay.

Driving a taxi in NYC is also pretty lucrative. But not in Topeka Kansas.

[quote="JimG, post:18, topic:192483"]
But in practice,** the value of the work performed is determined by what someone is willing to pay for it. **

[/quote]

Exactly. :thumbsup::thumbsup:

[quote="mjs1987, post:1, topic:192483"]
examiner.com/a-669683~Metro_drivers_make__100_000_in_pay.html

Wow! Nuclear scientists make less than that! Unbelievable.

[/quote]

What ruins public transportation.

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