King County Metro Transit today informed employees that eligible transit operators will receive back wages determined by a U.S. Department of Labor review of Metro pay practices.

We’ll be issuing checks to eligible transit operators beginning Oct. 11 and taking steps to correct pay practices that were identified during the DOL review.

Metro will pay eligible transit operators back wages other payments totaling $6.4 million to be distributed to 2,403 current and former operators identified by the Department of Labor.

Transit operators were identified by DOL as being eligible for compensation related to three non-driving work requirements: pre-trip inspections, meetings they had with a supervising chief, and instances where they were incorrectly paid straight time instead of overtime.

As a result of that review, eligible operators will receive payments ranging from $44 to $8,500, depending on the number of hours worked each pay period. These payments include back wages and liquidated damages paid directly to the employees covering a two-year period (Editor’s Note: the two-year period covers May 23, 2015 through May 19, 2017).

Metro will fully comply with the findings of the Department of Labor. We also are modernizing how operators are scheduled. We take this responsibility seriously, we are deploying staff to address these issues and we are paying our workers what is owed.

Paying back wages is only part of the solution. About 100 drivers notified Metro that they were not being paid for enough time to conduct pre-trip inspections. As a result, Metro launched an effort to streamline the pre-trip process with drivers. We are aiming to implement changes in coming months to reduce redundant tasks that are performed both by bus drivers and overnight maintenance staff. Drivers will be directed to focus on only items needed to operate the bus safely, still checking mirrors and tires for vandalism and to make sure they are in good working condition. Also, 39 drivers notified Metro they weren’t paid for enough time for supervisor meetings—something that is being corrected via back wages and going forward.

Metro found no instances where a foreshortened pre-trip inspection led to the unsafe operation of a bus. Each bus is inspected by vehicle maintenance staff at the end of each day in accordance with federal safety requirements and identified maintenance or repair items are addressed. Riders can feel confident that Metro service is still safe, and safety is our No. 1 priority.

If employees have questions or need additional information, find out more: