News Story

Lansing's $140,000 Bus Driver

A Lansing bus driver earned $140,900 in 2009 while working for the city's transit company. The six-figure income was due to 2,198 hours of overtime - or about 42 extra hours per week that the bus driver put in - according to the Capital Area Transportation Authority. The driver made $22.11 an hour base pay.

If the driver worked the standard private sector work week of 40 hours, plus the 42 hours of overtime, then the resulting 82 hour average work week would be sufficient to produce an 11 hour and 42 minute shift for each of the seven days of the week. estimates that driving from Lansing to Washington D.C. requires a little less than ten hours.

Sandy Draggoo, CEO of CATA, confirmed in an e-mail that the bus driver did receive more than $140,000 in 2009. CATA declined to release the bus driver's name. By comparison, Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero was paid $102,000 this year.

"In our labor agreement that we negotiated with our union that went into effect in August, we agreed to contract changes that modified the way we assign work to bus operators which will dramatically reduce the amount of paid overtime," Draggoo said. "Even more importantly, negotiated changes in the contract will save significant dollars so that annual earnings like this operator will not happen in the future."

There was also a CATA bus driver that made $114,691 in 2009, according to information released to the Mackinac Center for Public Policy following a Freedom Of Information Act request.

CATA has nearly 300 bus drivers, some of which are part time. There were 25 bus drivers who grossed more than $80,000 last year. The bus system spent $11.2 million just on bus drivers' salaries, including overtime, last year.

That Lansing bus driver made more than Robert Foy, director of the Flint Mass Transportation Authority, who earned $106,800 in 2009. Foy was the Flint bus system's highest paid employee in 2009, according to a FOIA request.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.