Chicago transit absenteeism drops 22% over last 2 years

Posted on August 1, 2013

Employee absenteeism rates at the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) have dropped dramatically in 2012 and 2013 due to new management initiatives aimed at reducing unnecessary time off.

The reduced absenteeism — due to better management of frequent causes of absenteeism such as sick leave and job-related injuries — is on pace to save the CTA more than $10 million compared to 2011. That year, the CTA bore $40 million in additional costs due to absenteeism, but the new strategies for curbing absenteeism have reduced that to below $30 million a year.

“We have taken a number of steps to ensure that we keep absenteeism down, which saves the agency money and ultimately helps us provide the best service possible to CTA customers,” said CTA President Forrest Claypool.

The first six months of 2013 showed an average, agency-wide absenteeism rate of 5.5%, compared to 6.4% in 2012 (a reduction of 13%) and 7.1% in 2011 (a total reduction of 22.2%). So far in 2013, CTA has seen 72,024 days of work absences compared to 77,150 for the first six months of 2012 and 88,320 in the first six months of 2011.

May and June of 2013 showed among the lowest rates of absenteeism in recent agency history, with the overall rate falling to below 5%.

All major drivers of absenteeism are down in the first six months of 2013 compared to the first six months of 2011: days lost to injuries are down 25.1% and sick time is down 17.6%. All of CTA’s largest departments saw drops in absenteeism, including bus and rail operations, bus and rail maintenance, and administration.

In March and April of 2012, the CTA implemented a number of management initiatives designed to better track, analyze and address absenteeism — including closer reviews of time-off claims, consistent discipline for not following rules, and improved safety training to help avoid injuries. Additionally, managers are now held accountable for not addressing employees who are abusing the system, or for not consistently addressing absenteeism cases.

CTA has cracked down on employees taking sick days on Mondays and Fridays, as well as warm weather or snowy/extremely cold weather days. CTA's efforts have reduced that practice, Claypool said, but there is still additional room for addressing the issue even more consistently and swiftly.

CTA also expanded safety training for employees, with a focus on avoiding injuries by using proper techniques to lift, climb and perform other physical activities, as well as analyzing and re-enacting events that led to injuries.

“In the same way we work to ensure our trains and buses are operated in the most efficient and cost-effective way, we are taking steps to ensure that our absenteeism is managed effectively,” Claypool said. “Our goal is to ensure that employees are taking time off for legitimate reasons and that we limit unnecessary absenteeism, which both burdens the employees who are following the rules and affects the service our customers rely on.”

Lower absenteeism leads to cost savings for the CTA, because the agency can avoid paying for additional bus drivers and train operators to fill in for absent employees.

View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More News

Fla.'s JTA sets launch date for new BRT service

The 9.4 mile Green Line on the North Corridor will feature direct, high-frequency service; 18 branded stations; complimentary Wi-Fi, a Park-n-Ride lot, and real-time bus arrival information.

Canadian bus service to block Internet streaming

Some customers have reported slow internet service, while others couldn't connect at al, due to Internet streaming issues.

Nova Bus names new east coast regional sales manager

Prior to joinging Nova, John Manzi served as eastern regional transit sales manager for a major transmission manufacturer.

Shuttle, circulator routes drawing thousands of riders in Miami

These services carried more than eight million passengers last year in 27 municipalities and are praised by riders and public officials alike as successful transit programs.

Calif.'s VVTA unveils Google trip planner update, web app

VVTA staff coordinated with the county and cities to maintain route and stop accuracy throughout the release cycle. Meeting the needs of the many departments at each agency added to the complexity of the project.

See More News

Post a Comment

Post Comment

Comments (0)

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment



Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

LCT Magazine

Global Resource For Limousine and Bus Transportation

Please sign in or register to .    Close