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Unlicensed Drivers Further Straining Muni’s Tight Budget

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Muni Bus

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) – Dozens of San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Drivers aren’t actually allowed to get behind the wheel – a major expense for an agency that has been losing money and cutting services.

Some workers have health issues, such as high blood pressure, that have caused them to lose their Class-B licenses. Other Muni operators failed to renew on time, or lost a license because of a DUI. Those drivers are not getting paid or driving a route, but medical and retirement benefits continue while on leave, to the tune of up to $12,000-a-year per-person.

The absent drivers also results in unstaffed bus runs on the schedule, which means longer wait times for riders. Additionally, Muni officials admit that they are behind on hiring for 80 open positions. Officials are still trying to restore some services that were cut because of budget problems.

Muni’s own records show that at least three of the unlicensed drivers have been on leave since 2008, and another 20 since last year.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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