Metropolitan Transportation Authority - New York City Transit


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NYS Comptroller


Taxpayers' Guide to State and Local Audits

Metropolitan Transportation Authority - New York City Transit
Practices Used by the Transit Adjudication Bureau to Collect Fines and Fees (Follow-Up)

Issued: March 7, 2019
Link to full audit report 2018-F-20

To determine the extent of implementation of the 11 recommendations included in our initial report, Practices Used by the Transit Adjudication Bureau to Collect and Account for Fines and Fees (2015-S-33).

The Transit Adjudication Bureau (TAB) is an administrative tribunal that provides a forum for processing and adjudicating summonses for violations of New York City Transit (Transit) Rules of Conduct (Rules) governing public use of the transit system. Respondents are offered the opportunity to receive a prompt, fair, and impartial hearing, should he/she decide to contest a Notice of Violation (NOV, or summons). TAB also handles the processing of the NOVs, including: scanning images and data entry of the information; processing of payments; and the legal pursuit of individuals who do not pay their fines. Summonses are issued by New York City Police Department officers and/or Transit Inspectors (aka Eagle Team), who enforce Transit’s Rules adopted by the MTA Board. Rule violations can include fare evasion, smoking, or interference with the movement of a transit vehicle. Fines range from $25 (for actions such as carrying an open container of liquid) to $100 (for actions such as vandalism and carrying a weapon). Fees and interest are added if the summons is not satisfied in a timely manner. From September 1, 2016 through August 31, 2018, TAB reported processing 288,076 new summonses. The total fines and fees amounted to $36.8 million, of which approximately $14 million was reported as collected. According to TAB officials, as of August 31, 2018, there were approximately 137,027 summonses with outstanding fines of $13 million and fees of $8.5 million.

Transit contracted with a vendor to staff and operate the TAB. This includes administrative functions, adjudication support, payment processing, information services, telephone collections, and judgment enforcement. The current contract, valued at $13.2 million, began on March 1, 2016 and ends on February 28, 2021.

Our initial report, issued on August 11, 2016, determined that approximately half the NOVs written are never fully collected. In addition, inaccurate information written on summonses, such as bad addresses and false telephone numbers, contributes to collection difficulties. Even for fines with accurate information, TAB did not do enough to enforce the collection of outstanding fees and fines. The number of calls to respondents had decreased materially from June 2013 to February 2015. In the first nine months of 2015, TAB purged $66.8 million in uncollected summons fines and fees because their 20-year limit had been reached.

Key Finding

We found that the MTA made progress in implementing the recommendations contained in our prior report. Of the 11 prior audit recommendations, 7 were implemented, 3 were partially implemented, and 1 was not implemented.

Key Recommendation

Officials are given 30 days after the issuance of the follow-up review to provide information on any action planned to address the unresolved issues discussed in this review.

Other Related Audit/Report of Interest
Metropolitan Transportation Authority – New York City Transit: Practices Used by the Transit Adjudication Bureau to Collect and Account for Fines and Fees (2015-S-33)

State Government Accountability Contact Information:
Audit Director: Carmen Maldonado
Phone: (212) 417-5200; Email:
Address: Office of the State Comptroller; Division of State Government Accountability; 110 State Street, 11th Floor; Albany, NY 12236