Management and Maintenance of Non-Revenue Service Vehicles

Issued Date
January 26, 2023
Metropolitan Transportation Authority - Bus Company
Metropolitan Transportation Authority - New York City Transit


To determine whether New York City Transit and the MTA Bus Company have and maintain an accurate and complete inventory of non-revenue service vehicles, and to determine whether the non-revenue service vehicles receive scheduled preventive maintenance, are safeguarded, and are properly disposed of at the end of their useful life. The audit covered vehicles owned during the period from January 2018 through April 2021.

About the Program

New York City Transit (Transit) and the MTA Bus Company (MTA Bus) are two related entities under the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). The MTA is responsible for developing and implementing a unified mass transportation policy for New York City, Dutchess, Nassau, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Suffolk, and Westchester counties on behalf of the MTA. Transit provides both subway and bus services, while MTA Bus provides bus services.

As of October 6, 2020, Transit and MTA Bus had 1,950 non-revenue service vehicles (1,792 Transit and 158 MTA Bus) in its fleet. Non-revenue service vehicles (vehicles) are used for purposes other than customer transportation, such as supervisory and maintenance functions. The estimated value of the vehicles was $150 million, with, according to agency records, a replacement cost of $216.7 million. The fleet consists of trucks (light, medium, and heavy), SUVs, vans, cars, and other vehicles.

Transit and MTA Bus have Support Fleet Services (SFS) Units that operate from the East New York facility and the Eastchester facility, respectively, under the Office of Central Maintenance Facilities, and are responsible for managing the acquisition, maintenance, and disposition of vehicles in the fleet. The SFS Units operate independently but share one management team.

The SFS Units are responsible for preventive maintenance (PM) that is performed to detect or prevent the degradation of its vehicles in order to sustain or extend their useful life. At SFS, PM includes annual and light service operations inspections, the timing of which starts from the in-service date, to ensure the vehicle is in good working order. Annual Service Operations (ASOs) are scheduled every 12 months, while Light Service Operations (LSOs) are scheduled based on mileage intervals (3,500, 6,000, or 7,500, depending on the vehicle class) or 6 months, whichever comes first. The ASOs and LSOs are scheduled by SPEAR, the maintenance management system that is programmed to automatically create work orders. ASOs and LSOs are performed in-house by the SFS Units, but service work, such as reupholstering seats, replacing springs, and repairing brakes, can be outsourced to vendors. SFS vehicles are assigned to various MTA user groups, such as Transit’s Signals, Elevator and Escalator, Track, and MTA Bus, to support ongoing operations. The user groups must coordinate with SFS to bring in the vehicles for ASOs or LSOs. Should additional maintenance or repair work be needed following the ASO or LSO, SFS creates a service operation pickup work order in the SPEAR system.

Key Findings

  • Transit and MTA Bus did not always adhere to their own guidance or practice to provide LSOs and ASOs as part of PM on its fleet of vehicles. For example, 173 of the 285 required LSOs (60.6%) in our random sample were done late or not at all. Furthermore, vehicles that do not receive recommended maintenance may invalidate the warranty, have a shortened useful life, or be subject to more repairs, resulting in higher costs to the SFS Units.
  • Transit and MTA Bus did not have an inventory system or maintain accurate and up-to-date inventory of parts purchased to be used to maintain its vehicles. The lack of an inventory system resulted in parts that were unaccounted for. We sampled $30,870 in parts and identified $21,928 that could not be traced to a vehicle or located in stock for future use.
  • We noted that maintenance costs were $50.5 million, or 21% over the $41.8 million budgeted. However, SFS did not have a process to analyze its maintenance costs in an effort to manage costs.

Key Recommendations

  • Work with the user groups to ensure the vehicles are delivered for the scheduled ASOs and LSOs.
  • Establish a process for tracking and monitoring maintenance costs.
  • Formalize procedures to record and account for the parts that were replaced on the vehicle during maintenance and repairs in SPEAR.
  • Train SFS staff on the process to establish consistency when recording parts in SPEAR.

Carmen Maldonado

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