New York State Thruway Authority

Travel Plaza Operations (Follow-Up Report)

In the 1990s, the New York State Thruway Authority renovated its 27 travel plazas to improve customer service, including providing a variety of food vendors. The Authority contracts with private companies to operate the plazas. These contractors pay the Authority rent and agree to charge the Authority-approved prices and maintain the plazas in good condition. In audit report 2001-S-50, we found the Authority did not monitor plaza contractors to make sure travelers were getting the services they needed and the products they wanted at competitive prices. For example, we found that four typical lunch items cost 30 percent more at a plaza vendor than at the same type of vendor in a nearby store off the Thruway. Further, some vendors charged more than the approved price for food, and a number of plaza restrooms were not clean. We recommended that the Authority work with operators to price food competitively and to identify and respond to changes in customer demand. The Authority also needed to monitor contractor compliance with its pricing and cleanliness standards, and make sure contractors spent the required amounts on approved capital repair and improvement projects. When we followed up on the actions that had been taken in implementing our audit recommendations, we found that some progress had been made, but additional improvements were still needed.

For a complete copy of Report 2005-F-16 click here.