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EDITORIAL ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL.

NEXT time you happen to step onto an MTA bus, you might want to ask the driver whether he's been working for more than 10 hours.

No one else will - at least not one of the driver's supervisors, anyway.

That's the conclusion of a state audit, which finds that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is unable to monitor whether its drivers are working more hours than they legally can or safely should.

The MTA also seems incapable of keeping track of drivers who are burning the midnight oil at second jobs. It can't even maintain a record of their on-the-job driving citations.

And it has no way of determining how many of its buses' 2,123 avoidable crashes since July 1998 were the result of driver fatigue.

Horrific as that may be, it's pretty typical for the MTA.

For its part, the agency points to what it claims to be a positive safety record - the second best of comparably oversized transportation agencies.

But the numbers suggest that oversized isn't the way to go. Despite massive budgets and an army of bureaucrats, the MTA can't even take care of some simple bookkeeping.

That's why the San Fernando Valley - and any community that's willing and able - should be free to run its own public transportation service.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Aug 24, 2001
Words:213
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