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Detroit’s chief financial officer says bus drivers’ wages must increase to remain competitive during a continuing shortage that’s led to reduced bus routes and high turnover. Meanwhile, ridership is half of what it was pre-pandemic and unions are at the negotiating table with SMART for better working conditions.
Detroit’s CFO Jay Rising said this year’s $2.4 billion budget, $1.2 billion of which is the general fund, is tighter than last year’s because there are fewer cushions and more one-time revenue spends, he said.
“That contract will be open this year and it makes financial sense to do it because overtime costs are more than it costs to hire new drivers at a higher wage,” Rising told The Detroit News.
“I look at this between a balance of what my resources are versus what the market requires and within my resources, I’m paying overtime already. I’d rather have the drivers than pay the overtime,” Rising said.