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MTA audit finds $13 million in uncollected fines and fees

An audit of the MTA’s New York City’s Transit Division found the authority did not collect more than $13 million in fines and fees, nearly half of those owed to it between January 1, 2015 and June 6, 2016, according to New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

Not adequately enforcing these violations has cost the MTA tens of millions of dollars over the years, according to DiNapoli.

“New York City Transit can and should do more to collect fines from those who violate its rules,” DiNapoli said. “With trains bursting at the seams and delays on the rise, Transit needs every dollar it can get to improve the subway service for straphangers.”

The Transit Adjudication Bureau (TAB) processes and adjudicates summonses for violations of NYC Transit rules, such as graffiti or fare evasion. According to DiNapoli, the audit found that the information on summonses is frequently inaccurate, limiting follow-ups.

DiNapoli’s auditors found that 40 percent of TAB’s records had the wrong address, according to a sample of 150 collected fines.

NYC Transit has disputed some of the findings and has accepted others. It stated it makes numerous efforts to collect unpaid fines and a new IT application should improve collections by  helping to identify those with multiple violations to make collections more efficient.

“Fines are meant to deter bad behavior, but when Transit fails to enforce its own fines, it risks sending the message that its rules are made to be broken,” said DiNapoli. “While we applaud the changes that Transit has already made, as they noted in their response, more can still be done.”

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