King County Metro must pay $6.4 million in back wages to bus drivers

SEATTLE (AP) — King County Metro Transit will pay $6.4 million in back wages to 2,403 bus drivers for pre-trip safety checks that required many of them to start working before their paid shifts.

The Seattle Times reported Friday ( ) that an inquiry by the U.S. Labor Department found on average, the inspections took eight minutes longer than the 10 minutes for which drivers were paid.

Metro General Manager Rob Gannon said Thursday in disclosing the federal order that paying the $6.4 million won't cut into bus service.

He says that's because Metro's fuel costs and payroll were running under this year's budget and the total is just under 1 percent of annual operating cost.

At least 30 inspections are required in the transit-operator rule book, including routine checks of lights, mirrors, tires, trolley bus power wires, destination signs, cleanliness and bus fare-card readers.