The Long Island Rail Road's Lost Property Process

MTA/OIG #2007-22

MTA Long Island Rail Road’s (LIRR) centralized Lost and Found Office (LFO) at Penn Station reports processing over 11,000 articles of lost property annually, received from all parts of LIRR’s service area and handled by multiple departments. The Office of the MTA Inspector General (OIG) has concluded an audit of LIRR’s processes for safekeeping and returning lost property and we have briefed LIRR officials on our findings. As this report indicates, LIRR began to address some OIG concerns during the audit. In response to a preliminary draft, LIRR stated that it planned to implement all of our recommendations and described its planned actions for doing so. LIRR further stated that timetables for these actions would be forthcoming.

This report covers aspects of LIRR’s management of lost property both outside of Penn Station (the field) and by the LFO. The audit’s primary objective was to determine whether LIRR’s procedures resulted in items being promptly forwarded to the LFO and made available for claim. The scale and the interdepartmental nature of lost property operations require a unified program with clear procedures and accountability. In the fall of 2006, auditors visited the LFO and various field facilities and reviewed LIRR’s handling of lost articles received from the field between June 1 and September 22, 2006. Auditors also conducted a field test, turning in “lost” items to field personnel.