Staff Productivity Indicators
Staff productivity is a key indicator of overall operator efficiency. It can also be useful when comparing the efficiency of different operators.
Total staff per licensed vehicle
The staff-per-vehicle ratio is a useful measure of the effective use of staff, but must be treated with care, particularly when making comparisons between different operators.
It will be influenced not only by levels of productivity and efficiency, but also by the length of the operating day. In some operations, particularly on intensive urban services, three shifts per day are required by bus crews, while on others, such as long-distance services, buses are normally worked by only one crew in a day, albeit often with very long shifts. The number of staff will be substantially lower if buses do not carry conductors.
The figure will also be affected if a significant amount of work, such as maintenance, is contracted out, although this is not common in the case of large operators in developing countries.
When calculating the number of staff per bus, it is normally appropriate to base this on the peak vehicle requirement (PVR) , or on the number of buses licensed. Basing the figure on the number of buses owned may be misleading, since many operators have large numbers of buses which are unserviceable for long periods, and these are normally delicensed.
In an efficiently run urban undertaking in a developed country, a typical staff/bus ratio will be of the order of three staff per bus where all buses are operated by the driver only, and all maintenance work undertaken in-house; if all buses carry conductors this figure would increase to about five or six.
In a developing country where wage levels are low and therefore many tasks may be undertaken using more labor-intensive methods, a reasonable figure, with conductors, would be between five and nine. Often, particularly in state-owned undertakings, the figures are very much higher than this. Excessive numbers of staff per bus not only result in unnecessarily high costs, but increase the problems of management and control.
Drivers per licensed vehicle
Depending on the working hours per day, days off per year, percentage of peak only services, etc., the normal range for an urban operation in a developing country is between 1.75 and 2.5 drivers per licensed bus.
Conductors per licensed vehicle
Where conductors are carried on all buses to collect fares, the minimum number required will be similar to that for drivers.
In many cities, however, it is customary to deploy more than one conductor on buses, particularly at peak periods, and on those buses with high capacities. Sometimes additional conductors are deployed at busy bus stops to issue tickets to passengers before they board the buses, both to reduce boarding times where conductors collect fares as passengers board, and to minimize revenue leakage.
Other traffic staff per licensed vehicle
The number of other traffic staff, principally inspectors and regulators employed to monitor revenue control and timekeeping, and other supervisory staff on the road and at depots and terminals, varies depending on the type of operation, and the operating practices and procedures of the operator concerned.
The normal range for an urban operation in a developing country is between 0.3 and 0.5 per licensed bus.
Maintenance staff per licensed vehicle
Where all maintenance is carried out by the bus operator itself, the normal range for an urban operation in a developing country is between 0.8 and 1.5 maintenance staff per licensed bus.
Administrative and management staff per licensed vehicle
Many bus operators in developing countries are over-staffed, particularly in the administrative and management categories.
The normal range for an urban operation in a developing country is between 0.4 and 0.7 administrative and management staff per licensed bus, although with efficient management and full use of modern information technology the number should be no more than 0.3.
Kilometers per employee per day
This indicator is used by some organizations as a measure of employee productivity. In effect it combines the vehicle productivity and staff per bus indicators, and is influenced by the same factors.
It may be useful to present these figures by category such as crews, mechanical staff, administrative staff and others. Kilometers per employee per day may be as low as 5 or 6 in an urban operation in a developing country, where bus speeds are very low due to congestion, with drivers and conductors on each bus, and where staff levels in general are disproportionately high. However, more typical figures for an urban operation in a developing country would be between 15 and 30.
Kilometers per driver per day
This is a measure of driver productivity. Typical figures are between thirty and 100 kilometers per day for urban services.
Days worked per year per employee
This indicator should be used in conjunction with the number of staff per vehicle. Where the number of days worked per employee is high, the number of staff per bus should, in theory, be relatively low, and vice versa.
Similarly, there is a relationship between the number of hours worked per day and the number of days worked per year: where it is customary for staff to work long hours each day, the number of days worked is likely to be relatively low, and vice versa, although this is not always the case. Therefore if possible, the number of hours worked is a more meaningful measure, but in practice is more difficult to determine.
The figure will also be influenced by the number of days normally worked per week, the number of public holidays, and the number of days allowed for annual leave.
The number of days worked per week in most countries varies between five and six. Five and a half days is common in many developing countries; if it is assumed that employees work for five and a half days each week, have four weeks’ annual leave and there are ten public holidays each year when staff are not required to work, the total days worked by each employee should be 254. A figure in excess of this will indicate that some employees work on their rest days or during holidays; less than this will suggest a degree of absenteeism.
Often absenteeism is compensated for by rest day working. If the actual number of days worked per employee is significantly below the normal figure, there is likely to be a problem of excessive absenteeism, which may be connected to an excessive number of employees.
If the actual number of days worked per employee is significantly above the normal level, this is likely to indicate a shortage of staff, or inefficient deployment of staff.