MTA Targets Overtime, Saving $54 Million in 2010

The MTA expects to reduce 2010 overtime expenses by $54 million compared with 2009 costs, an 11 percent reduction.

Reducing unnecessary overtime has been a priority of the MTA as it looks to improve efficiency and reduce costs. The agency's 2010 budget addressed the issue with a $24 million reduction. That projection was first revised in May to reflect a more aggressive approach, and this week, the MTA announced that a total of $54 million will be saved compared to 2009.

"Reducing overtime is a key part of our efforts to use every fare and taxpayer dollar wisely, and I am pleased that we have been able to achieve real results in just a few months," MTA Chairman and CEO Jay Walder said. "We have a lot of work still to do, but we've shown that by focusing in key areas we can earn critically needed savings across our agencies."

The savings result from a host of changes to policies and operating procedures. New York City Transit is projected to save $24 million by identifying the workplaces with highest levels of sick leave, limiting overtime only to critical activities like safety inspections and air conditioning maintenance, and filling critical vacancies that were creating a high need for overtime.

The Long Island Rail Road is projected to save $13 million and Metro-North Railroad is projected to save $3 million from a lower base. The railroads are more closely monitoring overtime assigned to the top 20 overtime earners at each railroad, beginning daily tracking of "hot spot" departments accruing large amounts of overtime, and modifying businesses practices to rebalance workloads with a renewed focus on reducing overtime expenses.

MTA Bridges and Tunnels will save $5 million. Bridges and Tunnels is expanding the use of seasonal employees at the Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge and Cross Bay Bridge, requiring managerial pre-approval of all overtime, and prohibiting operations personnel from working during vacations, among other actions.