JoeG wrote: ↑Wed Oct 09, 2019 8:11 pm
I have had several jobs where we were supposed to allocate our time into small intervals, often 6 minutes. What happened universally was that everyone just made up the numbers to add up to 8 hours a day. No one ever questioned the numbers except if you made a mistake and the numbers didn't add up to 8 hours. Then, in my college days I worked for a while at the main post office in NY. You got a ticket for each tray you sorted, and it wasn't hard to meet the quota. Some people had trouble meeting the quota. Usually they just swiped tickets and handed them in as their own. The most inept guys just took trays of unsorted mail and labeled them as sorted to some random destination. I suspect that went on enough so eventually management scrapped the system.
I guess the point of this is that overly onerous allocation systems will be evaded. A company needs an allocation system that will actually reflect reality. I would also suspect too many significant figures in any published allocation numbers.
I know a lot of lawyers (I am one but do not practice) and they do not allocate their time by 6 or 15 minutes, more like by the hour. Ergo, if they call their wife or hit the bathroom, it's on someone's tab. When I worked at a factory in college, it was much like the postal example above. I need to allocate 8 hours of my day... well I walked past projects 1, 3, 7, 24, and 14, so that goes on my time sheet. We all knew it was bunkos and so did management, but it was a "pick your battles" situation and as long as one project wasn't totally out of whack, nobody got in trouble. Problem was when one 40 hour project turned into 200 hours, the big boss was on the floor asking who screwed up, and let him see the rework. "uh, there is none, we just kept shovelling hours to project 24 cos we're idiots"...
Which leads back to Amtrak: It's good that they're keeping track of operating profits. But it would be really nice to know the real cost of running a 79mph slot with hourly stops, not just the "we do it because we have to" rate that BN gives Amtrak. It would also be nice to know the real cost of running an Acela or NER. It could take a long time and there are probably three different ways to do it.
For example, because the NEC would still run with or without Acela, should any NEC costs below-rail go to Acela? They'd sure still run regionals and NJT, and did for 30 years before Acela showed up. I'm not advocating this line of logic, just pointing out that it is there and could be argued, leading to a long process that likely not everybody is happy with.