Automated Farebox Collections Issue Resolved At Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority
BOSTON, MA — An audit of the Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority’s (MVRTA) use of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds for the period July 17, 2009, through September 30, 2011, indicated that all funds were administered in accordance with applicable funding requirements. The audit also revealed that the Authority had taken significant steps to resolve prior audit results related to the use of automated fareboxes.
“I applaud the Merrimack Valley RTA for acting quickly to address the findings in the prior audit by finding an immediate short-term solution while a longer term solution could be implemented,” said State Auditor Suzanne Bump.
A prior audit for the period July 1, 2006, through December 31, 2007, showed that automated farebox readings for MVRTA buses did not match the fare revenues collected, with the total variance exceeding $40,000.
At that time, MVRTA management explained that the fareboxes in use had been repaired several times, but were near the end of their useful life of approximately six years. MVRTA further explained that replacing all of its bus fareboxes would cost more than $600,000 and that sufficient funds were not available then to do so; however, MVRTA noted that it planned to replace the entire farebox system within its 2009-2012 capital budget cycle.
To address the prior audit finding, MVRTA immediately implemented a program of routine testing of all fareboxes every 50 days and has been repairing or replacing them as necessary if variances between readings and actual collections was more than three (3) percent. MVRTA also participated in a joint procurement effort with nine other regional transit authorities for new fareboxes.
Although the replacement of the existing fareboxes had not been completed as of September 30, 2011, the end date of our most recent audit, MVRTA has indicated that the new farebox installations were completed on January 29, 2012, and initial testing revealed an error rate of less than one (1) percent.