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Who were the top paid workers at Pierce Transit last year?

Post by John Henrikson / The News Tribune on April 26, 2011 at 8:25 am with 55 Comments »
April 26, 2011 11:01 am

I’ve just posted updated public employee salary information for Pierce Transit, covering 2010. Click here to see the database. (Other recently updated databases include state school employees, City of Tacoma employees and Pierce County employees.)

A few items of interest from the database:

• The top paid employee at Pierce Transit was CEO Lynne Griffith at $174,496 – down from $205,853 in 2009. She was followed by vice presidents Wayne Fanshier and Alberto Lara, who pulled in $160,766 and $158,366 respectively.

• There were 25 employees – all managers – out of 1,100 total making six figures.

• The most common job description, transit operator (488 employees), made an average of $57,320. But several drivers made more than $80,000 and one made $96,798 with overtime (drivers top out at $27 an hour).

Earlier this year, the TNT’s Kris Sherman analyzed Pierce Transit’s pay and benefits trends in this report.

Read on for a list of the top paid Pierce Transit employees.

NameTitle2010 Earnings
Linda GriffithChief Executive Officer$174,496
Wayne FanshierVp-Finance, Audit & Administration$160,766
Alberto LaraVp-Human Resources & Technology$158,366
Fred NelsonSafety & Training Manager - Bus$126,080
Kristine DupilleDirector Of Labor & Employee Relations$123,274
William SpiesDirector Of Maintenance$123,274
Gisela RatajskiDirector Of Procurement Warehousing & Admin. Svcs.$123,274
Keith MessnerDirector Of Information Technology$123,274
Scott MorrisDirector Of Public Affairs$123,274
Kathy SullivantDirector Of Finance$123,274
Rodney BakerChief Of Public Safety/Transit Police$122,032
Kelly HaydenDirector Of Scheduling & Planning$120,339
Daphne TackettBusiness Partnerships Manager$116,116
Lars EricksonPublic Relations Officer$111,323
Samuel DesueVp-Transportation Services$111,039
Kelly JohnstonOrganizational Learning Manager$110,465
Carlos DavisFleet Manager-Bus$110,136
Daniel DzyackyDirector Of Operations$109,335
Dolores CooperEmployment Manager$107,680
Cathleen ReidBudget Manager$107,630
Kathryn WoldBenefits & Compensation Mgr.$107,078

Leave a comment Comments → 55
  1. Guess I should be a bus driver, aka “transit operator.”

  2. Greg Denuel says:

    Well i see that according to your data base that at least one top salary went down.Personally i think they should cut more salaries since they cut services by 15%,with 15% more to come in june.But I’m sure they’ll just raise fares again,making us poor people pay their high salaries.

  3. WOW… No wonder Pierce Transit wanted to raise the sales tax back in Feb. A bus driver making $57k a year and even more with overtime!!!! Guess it PAYS to be a bus driver!

  4. Bettina Carson says:

    A shame police office only make $25.00 or so an hour..Shame on all those mentioned above.

  5. All this money goes to salaries of those behind desks yet drivers top out at twenty seven dollars. Hard to swallow as a tax payer, and they are cutting back routes because we didn’t agree to have higher taxes this last vote. Shame on them, they work for the public. To me it seems there is lots of money it is just being spent in the wrong fashion.

    All the damage driving a bus does to the human body and we pay a Fleet Manager who cares for buses 110,136.00. Please Pierce Transit and Linda Griffith get it together. The public doesn’t want to pay for your schooling, company car, and all the other added perks. Pay for your own the way the rest of us do.

  6. TwoFiveThree4me says:

    Isn’t that nice, posting the salaries of people for their friends and neighbors and the whole world to see? How about a little context? If this is supposed to be a “news report” then tell us if the salaries are out of line with what people make in similar positions in other fields. If they are, then go ahead and report it. If not, then there is no story here since it’s what the market will bear. But otherwise, it looks like this story is just meant to get the public agitated about how much public employees make. I’ll call it TNTea Party reporting…

  7. Tacomalover says:

    This article does not point out a year over year decline in staff, more exclusively management. A decline of about 25%.

    It also does not point out a pie chart of expenses. If this is was a real news article it would have outlined further how much of a percentage the top 25 paid employees is of the total expenses… Pretty sure it’s not even 1%.

    And since when is making $50,000 a crime in America?

    Finally this article doesn’t point out the cuts to health benefits, retirement, as well as PT does not Pay into Social Security!

    If the TNT insist on doing this year over year then make it a good in-depth look. Compare and contrast to other “a-like” agencies or businesses, has the budget been cut? has efficiencies been made?, and so on!

    Once again a half ass job by the TNT!

  8. I don’s see any issue with the TNT’s article here. They are simply reporting how TAXPAYER money is being spent, thank you TNT. It is what they do, its what they are paid to do (research, investigate, report, etc.). If my taxes are paying these salaries I want to know how its being spent. Its more than “posting the salaries of people for their friends and neighbors and the whole world to see”. Its about knowing how OUR tax money is being spent.

  9. There are links referenced above that show other statistical information.

  10. $49,449 this is wage a transit operator I know makes. Being with PT for over 11 years.

  11. I wonder what entry level pays and how long it takes to earn $57,000. When I ride to Seattle I am putting my life into the driver’s hands. I hope and trust that the drivers are well trained and highly qualified. I do not begrudge them their pay for the tough job they do. I couldn’t deal with some of the people and problems with which they deal. Unless these wages are out of line with other public employees I don’t see what the big deal is.

  12. Hey Tacomalover… maybe if Pierce Transit wasn’t paying their bus drivers (sorry, Transit Operator) $57k a year, plus a generous benny package, they wouldn’t have to cut staff and services so much.

    Its not a crime to make $50k in America. It is a crime to pay bus drivers (sorry, Transit Operator) they same, if not more than our school teachers. What real requirements are there to being a bus driver? Do you need any college or anything, I doubt it. Do you need any formal training of some sort, I doubt it. You drive a freakin bus! I bet you its luck of the draw when you put your application in to be a Transit Operator. Perhaps you might have an upper hand if you have a connection on the inside. But really lets not forget – they are BUS DRIVERS!!!!!!!!

    Lets reward people with decent paying job that have actually had to invest in themselves (ie education) and who’s jobs actually have a degree of responsibility and accountability. I can think of many other jobs worthy of a $57k salary than a bus driver.

  13. tacomajoe says:

    Ho ho – not enough money for buses, Granny and the handicapped have to walk. But at least Pierce Transit has a public affairs officer, “VP of Transportation Services”?, Business Partnerships Manager, etc. all making six figures. Oh yeah – benefits, too.

    Most of the above-named employees are little better than parasites. They should be ashamed of themselves, trimming services while they feather their nests on the back of the aged, the handicapped and the taxpayer.

  14. parrot1965 says:

    @2534Me, can you stick to criticizing the facts of the story, and not drag party politics into this? “I’ll call it TNTea Party reporting… ” So tiresome.

  15. royboy361 says:

    Geez!
    I’m an accounting person for the City and I don’t make what a bus driver does.
    All that education and experience worthless!

  16. BlaineCGarver says:

    Just a guess, but PT pays the same for fuel and the rest of us. I don’t see where highly elevated fuel costs should be born by employees. Let the riders cover the cost of their ride, not taxpayers and PT employees.

  17. alwaysthinking says:

    I personally do not know anyone who fills their gas tank with natural gas. As for high income earners, the ceilings for public employee’s salaries have risen over the past 5 or 6 years. Uusally ” to be competitive” with other areas. It would be nice if the TNT would do an article about how these salaries rose higher than the public sector and post statistics. Like our current elected officials, it all comes down to poor leadership – plain & simple.

  18. Sounds like a journalist here is a little jealous.

  19. alindasue says:

    Was the news really so slow today, Mr. Editor, that you had to fill your paper with old news? This list was first reported back before the Prop. 1 was voted on. The only thing new in your article, hidden in the midst of inflammatory statements like “several drivers made more than $80,000,” was a mention that Pierce Transit’s CEO made $31,357 LESS in 2010 than she did in 2009.

    That’s a 15% pay cut! All these people had been saying that they might consider Prop. 1 if PT’s CEO would take a pay cut, all the while she apparently DID take a paycut – a full 15% paycut! – even before Prop. 1 was on the ballot!

    Yes, there are a lot of exclamation points in my letter. Yes, I am angry! I am not angry at Pierce Transit managers and staff whose earnings are on par with people in comparable positions at other transit companies. (I checked.) I’m not even angry with the people who voted against Prop. 1. I disagree with their reasons, but I do understand them.

    I am angry at John Henrickson, Tacoma News Tribune editor, who felt the need to write this fluff piece that’s full of already reported information and seems to fill no purpose other than to try and incite people against “public” employees – again.

    So, next time you have slow news day and need a fluff piece, how about doing some research and telling us something people don’t already seem to know like the fact that all Pierce Transit drivers (aka “transit operators”) start out working part-time irregular schedules for the first few years and don’t make anywhere near the $57k “average” you cite. (Do the math based on the “tops out at” wage you report: $27 x 40 hours x 52 weeks = $56,160)

    Oh and while you’re at it, for the benefit of those comment writers here who are asking, why don’t you write us a little expose on the real requirements there are to being a transit bus driver? You can explain to them what a Class-B license with passenger endorsement is and how they too with schooling, road experience, and testing can get one for themselves. Anyone can do it, right? After all, according to one of our more eloquent commentors here, the transit operators just “drive a freakin bus!”

  20. tacomajoe says:

    “That’s a 15% pay cut! All these people had been saying that they might consider Prop. 1 if PT’s CEO would take a pay cut, all the while she apparently DID take a paycut – a full 15% paycut! – even before Prop. 1 was on the ballot!”

    15% when most of her bosses the taxpayers have taken far bigger cuts. Her benefits remained the same, when taxpayers and riders pay more and more of insurance and get less and less in return.

    As for the argument that these deadbeats make the same as other transit agencies – THOSE OTHER AGENCIES SHOULD TAKE HUGE PAYCUTS ALSO!

    Thank you to the News Tribune for providing this valuable information.

  21. TwoFiveThree4me says:

    @wow, I agree with you. As a taxpayer, I want to know if my tax dollars are being spent efficiently, but this article does nothing to answer that question. It’s numbers without context. And without a real investigative report, it leads to people like tacomajoe simply determining that these people are “little better than parasites” based on limited information. I’m not commenting on whether PT employees make too much (I can’t tell based on this article) or if teachers make too little (I think they definitely do), I’m commenting on the poor job of reporting by the TNT.

  22. time to privatize

  23. commoncents says:

    So because you didn’t have the proper education, foresight, hunger, education —shall I keep going? —- to put yourself into an executive level management position then everyone else in the entire country must take a 15% paycut because you had to?

    Instead of complaining about it – why don’t you apply for the next executive level position opening up at Pierce Transit and do something about it. My guess is that you a) wouldn’t be qualified and/or b) would actually find that these people might actually be doing a good job and are worth their money.

  24. commoncents says:

    MOGVET – There is already a private option. It’s called a Taxi. Care to compare rates?

  25. skippythedog says:

    Everyone whines about the pay public sector employees make…but only when times are tough. No one want’s these jobs when the NW is rolling in the dot.com dollars. Don’t complain. Just go get one of these jobs yourself.

  26. tacoman1 says:

    I agree that to me some of the management seems to be making a lot. However many comments below keep saying it is the transit operator or bus driver making these salaries which is not true and far from those of management. Let’s stop begrudging the working operators for making a living wage by working long grueling hours. I’m just saying let’s comment correctly and not confuse upper management salaries with those of the operator / driver. Anyone whom does not think that driving a 40 foot vehicle loaded with up to 80 souls is not hard should try it. To become a transit/bus driver you have to pass a entry test and pass a driver academy than go through a year or two of being a fill in drive. In recent years there have been news reports of drivers being assaulted and killed. It is not a easy job. I suspect police officers make more than drivers and rightly so and once you factor time off teachers are also up there. Just be fair and no I do not work for any transit agency.

  27. bluecollarlibertarian says:

    May I suggest that someone needs to take a look at has been done in some other cities in the U.S. such as Denver where they have contracted out a significant portion of the transit services, as well as cities worldwide where private companies operate urban transit, such as Stockholm and Copenhagen.

    Opening up the market to alternative providers would go along way towards saving taxes and helping those who do without.

  28. Thank you TNT for the simple report on year to year salaries at Pierce Transit. It is nice to know how some of our taxes are being spent. You will find that some people that have read your report seem to not care for it. They want you to compare the salaries to other agencies salaries. Maybe compare to some private sector equivalents. Maybe you can compare PT’s Transit Operators to their private sector equivalents Yellow Taxi cabbies. They would also like some pretty pie charts, maybe some table graphs too. It might be a good idea to include some commentary and opinions as well as it might help some of the readers with forming their own opinions.

    In addition… maybe when you guys are doing the weather reports can you include comparative data to other cities and the kind of weather they are having. It would be very newsworthy to compare Tacoma’s weather to Fargo’s weather. How about some statistics too, like how many partly sunny vs. partly cloudy vs. scatter showers days that we have had for this past month.

    Maybe you could let your readers know that it really pays to be in the Transit Operators field. Let them know that it only takes a few weeks to get their Class-B license and they too can be on their way to a $57k career. Who needs a college education when a two-week certification can get you a sweet job at PT as a Transit Operator?

    Maybe the Washington State Lottery can make a new scratch ticket where if you have a winning ticket you get to work at Pierce Transit because evidently having a job a Pierce Transit is like winning a mini-lottery!

    Thank you TNT for reporting on how OUR taxes are being spent.

  29. tacoman1 says:

    Dear WOW,
    None of the wages shown were for transit operators. They were for managment and you know it. You also know that there is a large difference between the trype of work transit operators do and that of cabbies and the industry work in not even close to what cabbies do. Regarding the training recieved and class hours needed to become a operator it exceeds more than 3 weeks and you know that also. A better comparison would be to semi tractor trailor operators or train operators. Again I do not work for nor have any relatives at any transit agency , but do know exactly what they are doing. Perhaps you would make more if you worked harder , but to marginalize a carrier is petty and child like. I’m just saying lets be honest with our comments.

  30. Some of you need to learn what ‘average’ means, then ally that new found knowledge to this.

    Then think about how much it would take to get you to drive a BUS through city traffic day in and day out, dealing not only with other idiot drivers (in other words YOU) and the public, many of whom are not mentally stable (again YOU) and many armed and dangerous.
    Would 57K cover it?
    I doubt it.

  31. tree_guy says:

    Anyone who wants to comment should feel free to do so in this forum. The funding for the salaries under discussion is provided, for the most part, by the taxpayers. It’s not clear at all the salaries for the managers or bus drivers have been set in the “marketplace.”

    I do have one question for the people who defend what most of us would consider high transit salaries. Do these jobs belong to the people who work them, or would they be willing to share them with other, possibly unemployed, people?

  32. alindasue says:

    tree_guy said, “It’s not clear at all the salaries for the managers or bus drivers have been set in the ‘marketplace.’ ”

    That is one of the many details omitted from this article.
    Now, I can tell you that the other transit systems I looked up during the Prop. 1 debates all had salaries comparable to Pierce Transit.

    “I do have one question for the people who defend what most of us would consider high transit salaries. Do these jobs belong to the people who work them, or would they be willing to share them with other, possibly unemployed, people? ”

    What are you asking here? Are you asking if the drivers would be willing to quit their jobs (make themselves unemployed) so “possibly unemployed” people could take their jobs? We’d just be trading one unemployed person for another. That would be silly.

  33. tree_guy says:

    “I can tell you that the other transit systems I looked up during the Prop. 1 debates all had salaries comparable to Pierce Transit.” alindasue

    That doesn’t mean the salaries were set in the marketplace. If a group of grocery stores decides that no one will sell milk for less than $5.00 per gallon does that mean that the market value of milk is $5.00 per gallon?

    My second question was this: do people at PT own their jobs? You didn’t answer that question. Is it more fair for one person to work a good family wage job for their whole life, or is it more fair for several people to have a chance working a family wage job for a few years each? Remember, there is a finite number of family wage government jobs in our area and a large number of people who would like them. Why would it be silly for our society to let everyone who wants to be a bus driver for a few years take a turn?

  34. Soundlife says:

    The entire United States of America has but one vice president.
    Imagine a county transit system that has TWO vice presidents and pays each of them equivalent to the national vp…must be nice to be rich…

  35. Soundlife says:

    This great article shows how badly we need to privatize the pierce transit system and save a small fortune for the taxpayers

  36. Look again,,,,that’s not bus driver pay,,,,that’s MANAGEMENT pay.

  37. I personally have no problem with what drivers make. Hell to put up with traffic, drunks and sometimes rude, obnoxious passengers, they earn and deserve every penny. Heck, I don’t even mind that managers are making above 6 figures. What I mind as a taxpayer and ratepayer is that they are SO MANY managers making six figures. Twenty five??? Do they really need a VP- Human Resources; Director Labor and Employee Relations; Director or Public Affairs; Public Relations Officer; Employment Manager and a Benefits & Compensation Manager? All making well over 6 figures? Now I’m sure that these fine Ladies and Gentlemen can all justify their positions and can show just how their job descriptions differ from each other. But, aren’t there more than a few redundancies here? Can’t they let go of, say, four of those 25 positions, combine the jobs and save a whole bunch of money? Why is it that whenever someone talks of cutbacks in ANY government venture, it’s the poor working slob that gets the axe before some yahoo in management? What say we start trimming the tree from the TOP first instead of hacking away at the bottom and having the whole damned forest come crashing down on our heads?

  38. Doesn’t matter if its Management or the Transit Operator they are all overpaid, overpaid with taxpayer money. At least you can justify higher paying jobs for management that have qualifying backgrounds and education (though still overpaid). As far a bus drivers (or Transit Operators as a more fancy title) $57k a year for a 3 week certification class or even if it was a 2-month class doesn’t matter still grossly overpaid. Find me another career that 3 weeks of training rewards you with a salary like such.
    Where do you even begin to compare these types of positions to private sector jobs? Answer is you really can’t. There are no equivalent private sector jobs to compare these to. That’s the joy of many government jobs, in most cases there are no equivalent private sector jobs to make a comparison to.
    Quite trying to defend a bus driver making $57k a year on average! $57k a year is more in line with firefighters, police, teachers, nurses – all fields that have major responsibilities, accountability and meaning that a worthy of that kind of salary – NOT BUS DRIVERS!
    Oh look a story about a bus driver that got yelled at by a little punk kid or had to kick off a drunk on the bus – so traumatizing, let’s pay them a ton of money since they have to deal with those really hard on the job situations! GET REAL, how about our police that put their lives on the line day in and day out, how about the firefighters that would go haul your butt out of a burning house or cut you out of your smashed to pieces car, or the teachers that have to act as parents to so many of their students because they have dead beat parents, how about the ER nurses that are there for you when you need them the most! Those fields are deserving of those salaries – NOT BUS DRIVERS!

  39. And, excuse me but, PRIVATIZE Transit?? Can you imagine what it would be like when the owner of the bus line suddenly decides that he wants more money in his pocket so he jacks up the rates by 35%? What would you do, go to the competition’s bus line? Remember what happened when the phones went public? Seen any 10 cent phone calls lately? Heck, seen a phone booth lately? Big business in public transit? NO THANK YOU!

  40. crusader says:

    employment manager, organizational learning manager, director of labor relations, VP HR….

    The list of redundant titles you’d never see in a business not funded by taxpayers goes on and on.

    And yet they wonder why the taxpayers voted to stop the gravy train.

  41. crusader says:

    papasan has absolutely no clue what the word “competition” means. Must be a product of Tacoma schools indoctrination programs.

  42. Last time I checked, TPD Officers start at around $30. Include the MANY opportunities for O.T. OUTSIDE the Dept. that pay $50/hr and UP. I have a family member at SPD over 15 yrs. (a SGT) Salary at $70,000 and up. Add his O.T. job at Safeco and he made WELL over 6 figures last year. I’m a retired RN. I know recent graduates making near $25/hr. Work in an agency at it goes up to $35. There is an ENORMOUS difference between Police, Nurses and Transit Operators. and one in the field over 10 years??? Transit workers don’t get anywhere near the same amount for longevity. . If Drivers are making $50K/yr., they are doing so because of longevity and overtime. They’ve paid 15+ years worth of physical and mental CRAP. Don’t they deserve it?

  43. tree_guy says:

    “They’ve paid 15+ years worth of physical and mental CRAP. Don’t they deserve it?” papasan

    Why don’t people with a bad attitude about their government jobs quit and let some unemployed citizens who would love the job have a chance?

    There are lots harder jobs in the private sector that pay a lot less than bus driving. Anyone like to shuck oysters, slaughter hogs, or apply hot tar roofing for 10 or 12 bucks an hour?

  44. alindasue says:

    tree_guy said,”That doesn’t mean the salaries were set in the marketplace. If a group of grocery stores decides that no one will sell milk for less than $5.00 per gallon does that mean that the market value of milk is $5.00 per gallon?”

    If all the stores got together and decided that the price should be $5.00 per gallon, then that is price fixing. If each store set the price at $5.00 without consulting the others, then that is the market value.

    When I was looking at our local transit systems, I discovered (amongst other things) that the head of Sound Transit came up from a transit system in San Francisco, where she made considerably more than PT’s CEO makes. That would fall in the catagory of “market value.”

    “My second question was this: do people at PT own their jobs? You didn’t answer that question. Is it more fair for one person to work a good family wage job for their whole life, or is it more fair for several people to have a chance working a family wage job for a few years each? Remember, there is a finite number of family wage government jobs in our area and a large number of people who would like them. Why would it be silly for our society to let everyone who wants to be a bus driver for a few years take a turn? ”

    Do you “own” your job? Unless you are the boss, then no you don’t own your job. Your boss does. If your reasoning is that the people at PT do not own their jobs because the tax payers are their “boss”, then I suppose that they actually do own their jobs even more than you own yours since they all are also taxpayers. Whatever. It’s a silly question.

    The fact is that everyone who wants to be a bus driver has equal opportunity to apply for the jobs when they come open. Just like in all jobs, some people retire, others move on to other jobs… of course, it’ll take a little longer for positions to open up right now due to budget cuts… but a position will open up. In the mean time, you and everyone else who wants to be a bus driver can go to driving school, test for your license and endorsements, and gain bus or truck driving experience. Then when the part time entry level positions open up, you and all the others can apply for the positions and go through the interview process – just like all the current drivers did.

  45. tree_guy says:

    These bus driving jobs belong to the taxpayers and should be distributed among all the unemployed people with clean driving records and the willingness to undergo necessary drug testing and driver training. If the demand for the job is so high that each person only gets the job for a year or two than that’s what it should be. Drivers don’t own their jobs. Probably more than a few of them got their jobs cause they knew somebody on the inside. A three week training course shouldn’t automatically qualify anybody for a million dollar career.

  46. Rollo_Tomassi says:

    Privatize Pierce Transit? Never going to happen.

    Pierce Transit earns less than 20% of it’s revenue from the fare box. That means that if you took away it’s taxing authority it would shrivel up and die in a matter of weeks.

    But it also calls into question Pierce Transit’s rich spending habits. From top of the line natural gas busses to hefty union raises in the middle of a recession to beefy management ranks, one gets the feeling that Pierce Transit is new to the idea of belt tightening. As painful as these next few years will be, it will good for them to confront the idea that revenue streams are not endless.

  47. I like your train of thought tree_guy. Heres a thought, you know how they use the state prisons and make vehicle license plates and other things… why dont we give these type of jobs to inmates that are on some sort of work release program for a fraction of the cost. I bet those guys would jump all over the oppertunity. We could do the same with trash service and stuff like that. I am sure there is a large enough inmate base in our state to provide enough bus drivers and trash men to go around for everyone. Or we could use the work release inmates in these jobs as a way for the taxpayers to recoup their money for what it cost them to put them in prison in the first place. Afterall its just driving a bus – how hard could it be right?

  48. alindasue says:

    “Where do you even begin to compare these types of positions to private sector jobs? Answer is you really can’t. There are no equivalent private sector jobs to compare these to. That’s the joy of many government jobs, in most cases there are no equivalent private sector jobs to make a comparison to.”

    This from the Greyhound bus web site:
    http://www.greyhound.com/en/docs/Professional_MCO_Candidate_Handout_072108.pdf

    “Health Benefits for You and Your Family
    • PPO or Major Medical Plans
    • Prescription Drug Benefits
    • Employee Assistance Plan
    • Dental
    • Vision Care
    • Short-Term Disability
    • Healthcare Reimbursement Account
    • Employee & Dependent Life Insurance
    • Reasonable Co-Payments and Deductibles

    “• Free Travel Plan
    • Continuing Education Program
    • 401K with Company Match
    • Career Advancement Opportunities
    • $40K Potential Your First Year
    • $Hiring Bonus in Selected Locations

    “Due to contract agreements, the pay structure is complicated. In general, new Greyhound drivers will make approximately $17 per hour or approximately $37, 000 per year.”

    Like Pierce Transit, the drivers do not have a regular route and must be available 24/7 on call for the first few years. Unlike Pierce Transit, Greyhound pays for drivers’ training and pays a small wage during training for those who make it past stage one of the training.

    Greyhound qualifies as 100% private though. They are closely associated with Amtrak which is government subsidized. In fact, I’m not sure if we have any 100% “private” transit systems left in this country…

  49. alindasue says:

    I mean’t that Greyhound may not qualify as 100% private.

  50. We’re told that the following transit considerations are good:

    Low fares
    High service levels
    High pay levels

    Because of simple economic principles our society can only have two of the things on this list. It is impossible to have all three without a massive infusion of new tax subsidization for which people just said no.

  51. tree_guy says:

    There is probably no private sector equivalent to bus driving. Greyhound receives as government subsidy just as Pierce County Transit does.

    However, there are certainly private sector jobs which require a high school diploma and and a few weeks of training. This sounds like working in the kitchen at McDonalds. People cooking hamburgers at McDonalds have to perform at a high level because of the public safety in food preparation is a key job requirement, just as proper handling of the bus is a public safety consideration. And employees of McDonalds have to deal with the same rowdy customers that pester the bus drivers. The only difference is that the people working at Mcdonalds don’t make $57K per year.

  52. So, a bus driver or a ferry worker is the equivalent of a burger flipper, in your mind, tree_guy?

    What do you pay your employees?

  53. commoncents says:

    If a McDonald’s employee makes a mistake and tears a burger in half – the company is out probably 15 cents…..if the driver of a PT bus makes a mistake and is involved in an accident the cost to PT (and by extension the county and the taxpayers) is considerably more than 15 cents. For that reason alone you need to have a higher quality individual in that position AND you need stability. Obviously risk management is something that some people fail to understand. It’s a critical factor in today’s litigious society.

  54. “obviously risk management is something that some people fail to understand. It’s a critical factor in today’s litigious society.”commoncents

    Well that would include you, commoncents! If a Mcdonalds employee fails to heat the food up to 155 degrees then the customers run the risk of contracting the occasionally fatal disease e coli. I think an e coli outbreak traced back to a particular restaurant and a particular employee would cost the chain a little more than 15 cents. We almost never hear about McDonalds employees making this mistake so apparently our society doesn’t need to pay $57K a year for low skill jobs that impact public safety.

  55. Thanks alot – your answer solved all my polrbems after several days struggling

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