Fraud Controls in the Paratransit Zero-Fare MetroCard Program – Follow Up

MTA/OIG #2016-07

New York City Transit provides a Zero-Fare MetroCard program (Zero-Fare), which offers free travel to AAR-eligible customers on subways and buses. The goal of the program was to encourage customers to use mass transit instead of individualized AAR services whenever feasible.

In June 2014, OIG issued MTA/OIG report #2014-10, finding that the Paratransit program had not instituted a comprehensive system of controls to prevent or detect fraud in the Zero-Fare program. The report provided six recommendations. In a letter to the Office of the MTA Inspector General, NYC Transit accepted five of the six recommendations without qualification, specifically citing a plan to create an anti-fraud unit for Zero-Fare that would develop and implement such controls.

In 2015, OIG conducted a follow-up review to monitor the extent to which Paratransit had implemented the five agreed-to recommendations in our August 2014 report. During this follow-up we found that Paratransit had not implemented the recommendations. Apprised of these preliminary findings in 2016, the new President of NYC Transit re-committed the agency to implementing the remaining agreed-to recommendations, and provided a timeline of the newly planned efforts to do so.