News Story

Detroit People Mover Maintenance Worker Paid $174,602 In 2017

Transit system loses nearly $10 per rider

The highest-paid employee of the Detroit People Mover monorail train last year wasn’t the general manager. It was a maintenance employee who had a base salary of $57,220 but ended up collecting $174,602 in total.

The employee had the job title of “electronic technician II.” The general manager of Detroit People Mover earned $119,565.

The figures came in response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed with the city agency that operates the People Mover, but the information sent did not include names. The agency is named The Detroit Transportation Corporation, but describes itself as a unit of the city of Detroit.

Three of the monorail’s four maintenance shift supervisors also collected six-figure pay while having base annual salaries of $61,131. One individual collected $105,456, another was paid $135,395 and the third made $161,368.

Four people with the job title of “mechanical technician I” also were paid substantially more than their base salary of $46,404. One made $111,182, another made $105,109 and the last two were paid $94,322 and $95,154 respectively.

Two “system control operators” had base salaries of $53,144 but finished 2017 with six-figure salaries. One collected $102,729 while the other was paid $100,962.

Altogether, there were 11 People Mover employees who were paid more than $100,000 by the city in 2017.

People Mover spokeswoman Ericka Alexander said the 2017 earnings included overtime and leave-time payouts. Alexander also said the Detroit Transportation Company hasn’t overspent its budget. It did spend 16 times more than it collected as revenue from user fares, though.

“The majority of individuals earning overtime are responsible for all facets of the operations and maintenance of the Detroit People Mover (DPM),” Alexander said in an email. “There are 12 vacancies in these divisions that DTC is seeking candidates to fill. We have few employees who earn annual salaries of six figures.”

The 2.9-mile downtown Detroit monorail loop lost an average of $9.89 on every trip it provided in 2016. The cost per trip was $10.51 and the average fare was 62 cents, according to a website that tracks transportation data. According the city of Detroit's 2017 consolidated annual financial statement, the People Mover cost $25.4 million to operate in 2017. The system is sustained by grants from the city, state and federal governments.

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.