Transit Extraboard Management: Optimum Sizing and Strategies

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

ridership - drivers, organisation - management, mode - bus, mode - mass transit


Transit operating agencies, Transit lines, Transit, Public transit lines, Public transit, Personnel management, Microsoft Excel (Software), Mass transit lines, Mass transit, Local transit, Extraboards, Decision management tools, Bus transit operations, Bus operators, Bus drivers


Although transit agencies attempt to employ enough regular bus operators to provide scheduled service, they also employ operators to cover work assignments that are temporarily unfilled. Work assignments can become open for extraboard operators because of vacations, illnesses, unscheduled absences, insufficient manpower, attrition (caused by retirements or promotions, for example), or for work that is left open in the course of normal labor practices. Put simply, an extraboard bus operator is another name for a backup driver. Extraboard operations may be generally defined as the process of utilizing available manpower to perform work assignments in accordance with labor agreement provisions and work rules to ensure the provision of scheduled transit service. The challenge is to assign manpower to ensure scheduled service delivery with minimum cost. Proper extraboard management is critical to the overall workforce management of the transit agency. The objective of this research is to summarize the process involved in managing extraboard resources and to develop a tool to aid small- to midsized transit agencies in doing so. The tool will be built in Excel to allow for easy data entry and model inputs. This study was requested by the TRB Bus Transit Systems Committee and commissioned by the National Center for Transit Research, with the goal of examining industry trends and identifying strategies that could be used by a broad base of transit agencies to maximize extraboard sizing. The result is an instrument that can be universally applied to transit agency practitioners seeking to determine extraboard size based on factors other than historical trends and experience.