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Audit of the Southeastern Regional Transit Authority Objectives, Scope, and Methodology

An overview of the purpose and process of auditing the Southeastern Regional 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 Southeastern Regional Transit Authority (SRTA) 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 SRTA 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 SRTA 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 SRTA properly manage the use of its non-revenue-producing vehicles?

No; see Finding 2

To achieve our audit objectives, we gained an understanding of SRTA’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 addition, we performed the following procedures to obtain sufficient, appropriate audit evidence to address the audit objectives.

  • We analyzed the data in the StarTran software maintained by SRTA, which documents all vehicle fleet maintenance and repairs, to determine whether all vehicles used and vehicle maintenance performed during the audit period were recorded in the database.
  • We verified that SRTA had a vehicle maintenance schedule and tested a nonstatistical sample to determine whether the agency followed the recommended schedule for preventive maintenance and replacement. We tested 25 of the 118 vehicles that were active during our audit period, choosing the 15 vehicles with the highest number of work orders and the 10 vehicles with the lowest number of work orders. We compared records of the mileage traveled per vehicle to records of oil changes performed during the audit period and tested to determine whether SRTA followed specific vehicles’ manufacturer guidelines and the required FTA preventive maintenance guidelines. Since we used a nonstatistical sampling approach, we could not project the results of the test to the entire population.
  • We asked SRTA management about the use of non-revenue-producing vehicles and the process of lending a non-revenue-producing vehicle from the motor pool.
  • We asked SRTA management whether the keys to non-revenue-producing vehicles were in the possession of the general manager of First Transit Incorporated or SRTA personnel or were left in the vehicles.
  • We requested and reviewed the sign-in/sign-out log for non-revenue-producing vehicles.
  • We examined the state’s publicly available, searchable website to determine whether it included data for SRTA expenditures, including payroll, to ensure transparency with regard to the agency’s spending.

We analyzed StarTran software data by performing validity and integrity tests, including testing for missing data and scanning for duplicate records. We performed a source documentation review of SRTA’s vehicle list to ensure that each vehicle matched the information in the StarTran software. We determined that the data from this system were sufficiently reliable for the purposes of our audit.

Date published: August 21, 2018

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