Friday, October 2, 2015

Road Relief

Evidently, people from all over the world are readers of this blog. Many of you share my occupation, so you understand when I say we're not paid enough of the hours we're actually in uniform.

When you meet your bus en route, also known as a road relief, operators here are expected to not only be on time, but to arrive early. If you take public transit to your road relief, you're expected to be two buses (or trains) ahead of your scheduled run start time. However, we're only paid pennies on the dollar for road reliefs. A couple of bucks is not proper compensation for getting there early and waiting. If your buses only run every 20 minutes, you can arrive up to 40 minutes or more prior to your road relief time. So for 20-40 minutes each day, I'm actually giving my time away.

Hey I don't expect to be paid for travel time from home to work. But if my actual "work" begins before my scheduled time and I'm not being paid for it, there's a problem. While waiting for my bus to arrive, I am asked questions at least five times a day. I'm in uniform, expected to represent the agency, but I'm not being compensated for my time. If I get relieved on the road, I should be compensated for the time it takes to get from the relief to my home garage because only then am I truly "off the clock".

Just throwing in my two cents here. But I'm curious... of you readers who hail from transit agencies around the world and in this country (USA), what is your road relief pay? What are your thoughts on compensating operators for all the time we spend in uniform but are not being paid? Please either comment under this post, or drop me a line at, or on the FaceBook post this article appears under.

Thanks and stay safe out there folks!


  1. GOOD QUESTIONS, DEACON! This is why I won't do road reliefs anymore. My time is my money, and I don't give it up to the boss for nothin'. Nope, it's garage-to-garage now for this guy.

  2. SF Muni: policy is that you are responsible to be on time for your relief, miss out starts 1 minute after relief time, and the operator need not wait more than a minute. In general, travel time is paid 1) if you have two pieces, if those reliefs are not at the same location (minimum travel time is 2 minutes to cross the street); 2) If you have to pull out or pull in from a different division than normal (motorcoach substitution, usually); 3) Travel time may be paid (dispatcher/supervisor's discretion) if orders given change you original pull-out/pull-in/relief locations.

    It is recommended to be early for your relief, but not required. There is a pay code for Standby Relief if it was required.

  3. Edmonton (AB) pays the actual - on-board - travel time, from the Garage. So, IF it's a 14-minute Ride, but because of Delays U must wait 1-Hour, too bad :( I used to take Bus, LRT and Bus, to start my shift. So long as I am at the Relief Point "on time", no problem.

  4. Agree whole heartedly. However remember that road relief pay is a bargaining chip during contract talks. If we want to see the road relieve pay changed we will have to make it an issue and more than likely during the next bargaining session we will have to bend on something else.

  5. In Phoenix they check in at the garage and get paid from check-in time.

  6. In Mississauga, Ontario, we get paid our regular hourly rate of $31.97 from the punch in time at the garage until punch out time at the garage. Any delay from the regular punch out is paid at time and a half until actual punch out
    The company provides the transportation to the change off point, either a car or a bus, their choice.

  7. Currently there is a class action lawsuit against TriMet because our road relief pay violates federal overtime laws. The time spent traveling to and from road reliefs IS paid, but not at our hourly wage which it should be. They (lawyers, TriMet, Union) are in court hashing out the details. They've already decided that we (only full time operators, sorry part timers) will be compensated and that things will change in future contracts and sign-ups. How much we end up receiving for back pay is not known at this time. Much less that our hourly pay I'm betting, but it will be something. Side note, our union turned the bus driver away that figured out there were laws to protect us. They didn't listen nor support him. He went and got a lawyer on his own and they filed the class action on our behalf. He ran for office in our last election and did not get elected because IMHO it's a popularity contest and he's not the most popular. If you added your name to the suit in the beginning when we were all informed you'll end with just a little more money. I don't really understand how it all works, something about federal and state. People whose names are on the class action suit will get a little more. But with how long things take in court, it might take a while, eating up our potential back earnings but at least we know things in the future ARE going to change, at least at TriMet with road relief pay.