Thursday, January 27, 2011

New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli: MTA Bus Fleet Maintenance Too Expensive

Nearly half of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) bus fleet—including virtually all of the fleet’s hybrid-engine buses—have not been properly inspected according to an audit released today by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. In addition, 62 percent of the MTA’s buses failed to meet reliability goals despite maintenance costs that topped $777.7 million in 2008. That amount was double the maintenance costs of other comparable transportation agencies around the nation.

“New Yorkers aren’t getting what they pay for when it comes to bus service,” said DiNapoli. “Other cities across the nation spend much less on maintenance and get better results. The MTA needs to step up bus maintenance performance and bring down maintenance costs.”

Three of the MTA’s seven constituent agencies provide bus service in New York City and Long Island. The MTA’s Regional Bus Operations oversees the authority’s 6,200-bus fleet and maintenance services at 29 depots and two overhaul facilities. DiNapoli’s audit examined records from the MTA’s Regional Bus Operations division between 2007 and 2009.

Auditors found that:

  • Nearly two-thirds of the 29 bus depots did not meet their performance goals;
  • Maintenance costs per mile of operation were much higher than other bus fleets around the nation;
  • 584 of the MTA’s 1,255 required maintenance inspections were performed poorly, or not at all; and;
  • Mechanical failures were more frequent than expected. One depot had a goal of 4,674 miles between failures, but its actual distance traveled between failures was 3,581 miles.
DiNapoli’s auditors recommended the MTA:
  • Improve the reliability of its bus fleet;
  • Identify reasons why maintenance costs are so high and develop a plan to reduce them, and;
  • Prepare a comprehensive maintenance plan that includes information on maintenance program objectives and unscheduled maintenance operations.

MTA officials agreed with DiNapoli’s recommendations. Click here to read the full audit, or visit