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The Rules of the Run Cut Part I: Defining the Duty Types

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The Rules of the Run Cut Part I: Defining the Duty Types

One of the most complicated aspects of Hastus or other scheduling software is defining the rules that the program will use to cut your vehicle blocks into driver assignments (the runcut). For more information about how the runcut fits into the overall scheme of things please see my series on planning and designing bus routes and schedules . The first step in this process is defining the duty types and describing some of the issues associated with each. Most agencies have the following duty types:

A. Straight Runs

Straight runs are continuously worked pieces of around eight hours in length. Virtually all transit agencies have strict requirements for the percentage of straight runs that must be in operation on any given daytype; for example, an agency may require 65% straight runs on weekdays, 75% on Saturdays, and 85% on Sundays and Holidays. Of course, while it would be nice if all straight runs were eight hours in length the realities of transit means that result seldom happens - in real life the scheduler works with the rules to determine the relationship between the amount of guarantee time and overtime.

Guarantee, or penalty, time arise from the fact that most union contracts specify a certain minimum number of paid hours regardless of whether that number of hours was actually worked. For example, if a straight run works only seven hours but the contract has an eight hour guarantee then the driver will work for seven hours but get paid for eight. Overtime, of course, is paid when the run exceeds eight hours. Overall, the transit agency has to decide which is more odious: pay people for work they have not actually done or pay overtime.

A second type of straight run is called a "straight split" and often referred to as an "A2" run. In a straight split, there is a paid break in between two work pieces. The straight split is used in agencies that give drivers breaks in addition to the layover time at the end of each trip.

B. Split Runs

Split runs are full work days that consist of at least two distinct work pieces separated by an unpaid break. While most split runs consist of two pieces, some consist of three pieces (with two breaks) and are known as "B3". B3 runs are not commonly used because most union contracts require that the shorter of the two breaks be paid. The major issue in split runs is the spread time: the length of time between beginning the first trip worked and ending the last trip worked, with most agencies limiting the split time to twelve hours.

The break between split runs usually has to be at least thirty minutes; if it is less then thirty minutes then the run is known as an "A2" and the break time must be paid. Of course, enough time must be given between the pieces to allow the driver to reach the starting location of the second piece.

The above two duty types are operated by regular drivers who select their runs at periodic bids . Most agencies allow the working time of straight and split runs to range from seven hours to nine hours with a goal of averaging as close to eight hours as possible.

T. Trippers

Trippers are very short blocks, always less than three hours, that often consist of doing only one trip. In addition to school trippers , some very heavily peaked bus schedules may consist of a block doing only one regular trip. Trippers could be operated by part-time employees, the extraboard, or full time drivers on overtime, in which case they would be known as "BT" for biddable trippers. Due to state and federal requirements relating to maximum driving time, a rule needs to be inserted forbidding daily in-service vehicle driving time of more than 10 hours to prevent regular drivers from selecting a tripper to work if the combination results in too much driving time.

P. Part-Time

Some agencies, but not all, have part-time drivers. Agencies that have part-time drivers usually have very strict guidelines for what kind of work part-time drivers can do. For example, part-time drivers may only be able to work a maximum of six hours per day.

E. Extraboard

"E" duties are assigned to the extraboard , a collection of drivers with no regular assignments who fill in for drivers with regular assignments who are on vacation or out sick. In some cases, the extraboard is also assigned pieces to work each day. Pieces assigned to the extraboard are usually of a length (i.e. 3 or 5 - 6 hours) that cannot be cut in a way for full-time regular drivers to work.

Now that we have defined the duty types, we need to create a rule version that will tell Hastus how to create the duties that the drivers will work. Move on to Part II of this series.

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