Metro agrees bus drivers on road longer than should have been

Some drivers say they worked 18 hour shifts on Thanksgiving. (Photo: John Hendel/TBD)

Metro acknowledged Tuesday a claim by some Metro Access van drivers that they worked shifts up to 18 hours long over the Thanksgiving holiday.

A union that represents some MetroAccess van drivers has been working to get official employee hours records for Thanksgiving.

On Tuesday, Metro acknowledged workers had been on the road much longer than they were supposed to be.

An unidentified MetroAccess driver said she drove a van for 18 hours during Thanksgiving, picking up and dropping off the area's physically challenged.

"They wanted me to stay out longer, but I told them I couldn't," the van driver said. "My eyes were criss-crossing."

The union is concerned she was not the only driver who was overworked. When a union representative showed up to work the day after Thanksgiving, another van driver told her he had just finished working 19 hours.

"He was supposed to get off at 10 p.m. but was asked to stay out until the 4 a.m. the next morning because they didn't have any drivers to pick people up," a union representative and MetroAccess employee said.

Both drivers said they agreed to stay on because there wasn't enough staff and riders may have been left stranded.

"I just couldn't believe that the company would allow anyone--whether they volunteered or they were compelled or for any reason--to stay out for almost 20 hours," Wayne Baker, president of the Union, said.

Metro contracts with MV Transportation for the Metro Access vans and drivers. The union president, who is investigating claims that several workers worked beyond their 13 hour shifts, was "livid."

One driver said she agreed to work an extra three hours until midnight which got pushed to 4 a.m., and the dispatch asked for more.

"I called them and told them I couldn't do it anymore," the unidentified van driver said. "I was tired. They are jeopardizing my life along with the clients."