Report: BART investigating spike in sick calls during holidays

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More than a third of BART employees called in sick on Christmas Eve, costing BART 406 hours of overtime, according to a report. (KGO-TV)

BART management, passengers and a state senator are responding today to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle revealing that more than a third of BART employees called in sick on Christmas Eve, costing BART 406 hours of overtime.

BART released a statement saying the spike of absences during the holiday is of great concern and that steps are being taken to appropriately respond to those employees who did not show up to work.

State Senator Steve Glazer says he is hoping to see consequences.

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"I think they should hold those employees accountable. And if they are supposed to be at work and they don't have a legitimate excuse there needs to be accountability for that," said Senator Glazer, a Democrat from Orinda.

Glazer says BART needs to better manage its employees to prevent this in the future. The absences meant five stations didn't have station agents. BART police had to step in and do the work of the agents. One BART director told the Chronicle she would much rather see police focusing on public safety.

"The central issue is safety for the traveling public and those agents are the eyes and the ears for the safety of their passengers," Glazer said.

BART said in its statement that safety is a priority and said a number of safety measures have recently been put in place including the hiring of 24 officers.

Riders ABC7 News talked to were sympathetic for workers assigned to the Christmas shift and are focused on other issues.

"I guess I can understand them not wanting to be at work on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. I wasn't at work. I think there are other bigger issue with BART to tell you the truth," said Sam Dockery of Walnut Creek.

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