SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – A recent audit by the San Francisco City Controller has come down hard on the hiring practices of Muni and the training program of its drivers.

According to auditors, Muni had no accurate count of how many drivers the agency needs, leading to not enough drivers being hired.

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The audit found that the lack of hiring drivers is not related to money, as the agency has the positions budgeted. Rather, Muni has not been able to come up with a staffing analysis to show the true number of drivers it needs. That driver shortage led to thousands of missed runs last year.

When it comes to the training program, auditors found it is often lacking in terms of qualified instructors because of a difference in overtime pay. Some instructors have not driven a bus in years, and many of the training classes have been canceled because of chronic absenteeism among instructors.

Unlike other Muni driving assignments, teaching does not pay overtime. This leads to many of the driving instructors being supervisors, rather than current drivers. With a 15 percent absenteeism rate among instructors, there are many canceled classes.

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The report found a number of mistakes being made in the training process. For years, Muni used the parking lot at Candlestick Park as a training course, despite numerous potholes at the site. The transit agency now uses a police training area at Pier 96, although it can only use the space when the police aren’t there.

As they were collecting data, city auditors ended up hopping on a Muni training bus and more than once, they found the instructor eating and chatting with passengers, and even napping while they were supposed to be training prospective new drivers.

Muni officials said they take the results of the six-month audit very seriously and are looking to fix some of the stated problems.

You can hear Phil Matier’s comments Monday through Friday at 7:50am and 5:50pm on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM.

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