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Audit of the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority Objectives, Scope, and Methodology

An overview of the purpose and process of auditing the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority

Table of Contents


In accordance with Section 12 of Chapter 11 of the Massachusetts General Laws, the Office of the State Auditor has conducted a performance audit of certain activities of the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority (PVTA) for the period July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2017.

We conducted this performance audit in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. We believe that the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives.

Below is a list of our audit objectives, indicating each question we intended our audit to answer; the conclusion we reached regarding each objective; and, if applicable, where each objective is discussed in the audit findings.



  1. Did PVTA maintain a cost maintenance log for each vehicle to ensure that preventive maintenance for vehicles and equipment for transporting passengers with disabilities under the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 was up to date per Federal Transit Administration (FTA) guidelines?


  1. Did PVTA submit all required financial records to the Commonwealth for inclusion on the Commonwealth’s searchable website as required by Section 14C of Chapter 7 of the General Laws?

No; see Finding 1

  1. Did PVTA properly manage the use of its non-revenue-producing vehicles?

No; see Finding 2

To achieve our audit objectives, we gained an understanding of PVTA’s internal controls that we deemed significant to our audit objectives through inquiries and observations, and we evaluated the design of controls over cost maintenance logs, financial reporting to the Commonwealth, and non-revenue-producing vehicles. In reviewing PVTA’s maintenance records, we identified an issue regarding its inventory of vehicle parts (Finding 3).

In addition, we performed the following procedures to obtain sufficient, appropriate audit evidence to address the audit objectives.

  • We extracted fleet inventory lists and maintenance records for all three of the maintenance facilities from Trapeze Enterprise Asset Management (EAM). Using Audit Command Language (ACL) software, we grouped the work orders based on the associated vehicle license plate numbers and then generated a list that identified the number of work orders per vehicle for each facility. We used ACL to select a nonstatistical random sample of 30 out of 347 revenue-producing vehicles and tested whether they were in PVTA’s fleet during the audit period. We also tested a nonstatistical random sample of 15 out of 50 non-revenue-producing vehicles that were in PVTA’s fleet during the audit period. We compared records of the mileage traveled per vehicle to records of oil changes performed during the audit period and tested to determine whether PVTA followed specific vehicles’ manufacturer guidelines and the required FTA preventive maintenance guidelines.
  • We reconciled the inventory of vehicles provided to us with the inventory of vehicles in the Trapeze EAM database. Using ACL, we extracted data and searched for various anomalies when testing for completeness and accuracy of the database: transactions without work order numbers, work orders for parts without labor, and work orders without vehicles assigned. We reviewed all 48 transactions without work order numbers from the database. We reviewed a nonstatistical judgmental sample of 10 out of 72 transactions that did not have labor associated with the work orders, including all 9 transactions valued at over $800 and 1 transaction under $200. We reviewed all 188 work orders that did not have vehicles assigned. We reviewed the work orders that required physical labor to be performed, issue logs that helped track the issues that arose, and supporting documentation.
  • We asked PVTA management about the use of non-revenue-producing vehicles and the process of lending a non-revenue-producing vehicle from the motor pool to determine whether PVTA had policies in place for these processes.
  • We asked PVTA management whether the keys to non-revenue-producing vehicles were in the possession of the general manager of First Transit Inc. or PVTA personnel or were left in the vehicles to determine what controls PVTA had implemented over the use of its non-revenue-producing vehicles.
  • We obtained and reviewed PVTA, First Transit Inc., and University of Massachusetts sign-in/sign-out logs for non-revenue-producing vehicles to determine whether mileage was recorded and use was detailed. Using Trapeze EAM, we extracted the mileage information for all non-revenue-producing vehicles from agency records and totaled the miles they were driven during our audit period.
  • We examined the state’s publicly available, searchable website to determine whether it included data for PVTA appropriations, grants, and expenditures (including payroll) to ensure transparency with regard to the agency’s spending.
  • Using ACL, we queried vehicle identification and maintenance information in PVTA’s database and determined whether all maintenance performed during the audit period was associated with a vehicle. When we found vehicle identification numbers for vehicles that were no longer listed in PVTA’s inventory records, and when we found work orders that listed parts but did not list the vehicles on which they were used, we discussed the matter with management and reviewed other source documentation related to the issue.

We used a nonstatistical sampling approach for our testing, and therefore we could not project the results of the test to the entire population.

We obtained a full copy of the Trapeze EAM database and assessed the reliability of the data. We analyzed Trapeze EAM data by performing validity and integrity tests, including testing for missing data and scanning for duplicate records. We performed a source documentation review of the inventory vehicle lists to ensure that each vehicle matched the information in the maintenance facilities’ inventory system. Additionally, we performed source documentation reviews of the original hardcopy work orders to ensure that they matched the information in the facilities’ inventory system. We determined that the data from the Trapeze EAM database were sufficiently reliable for the purposes of our audit.

Date published: January 30, 2019