(Bloomberg) -- New Jersey Transit faces a widening examinationof its safety practices after federal regulators discoveredhundreds of potential work-hour violations, including altered dutylogs and shifts longer than permitted.

FederalRailroad Administration inspectors recommended penalties inSeptember after they found timekeeping irregularities by a smallsample of engineers and other on-board crew, according to materialobtained by Bloomberg in response to a public-records request.

Nation’s third-largest mass-transit operator

The lapses, the inspectors wrote, allowed employees “to work longeror more preferred jobs” at the nation’s third-largest mass-transitoperator, a crucial link to New York City. The broadening reviewcomes as lawmakers question safety and finances at the agency,which in the 1990s was a model for innovation and service, only tosuffer increased breakdowns and more crowded rush hours as thestate provided less budget aid.

“Hours-of-service laws are not foolish,” Martin Robins, NewJersey Transit’s deputy executive director when the agency wasfounded in 1979, said in an interview. “They’re set up for areason: to protect the public.”

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