VTL 19-A

MTA/OIG # 2011-01

OIG conducted a review of Paratransit’s practices regarding criminal background checks of drivers employed by the 17 private entities that transport passengers in the Access-A-Ride program. In particular, we focused on measures taken by these entities to prevent individuals with statutory disqualifying criminal convictions (e.g. homicides, assaults, sex, drug and weapons offenses, and drunk driving) from transporting the vulnerable population that uses Access-A-Ride.

While we confirmed that during the period reviewed Paratransit complied with the relevant laws and regulations, we found that the rules themselves allowed operators with disqualifying convictions to drive Access-A-Ride vehicles before their criminal records were detected. Indeed our review revealed that the undetected offenses included homicide, sexual abuse, drug trafficking, and weapons possession. Additionally, we found that some Access-A-Ride carriers delayed submission of operators’ records to the state Department of Motor Vehicles for vetting beyond the maximum period permitted in the regulatory scheme, and that Paratransit’s procedure for monitoring compliance with the timeliness of the submissions was inadequate.