Audit reveals flaws in GRTC’s system for catching fare evaders

Taking Action

A new audit reveals that passengers could be riding GRTC Pulse buses without paying for it and getting away with it. The Richmond city audit reviewed revenues for GRTC and GRTC’s system for catching fare evaders onboard the Pulse bus is flawed.

Investigators rode a Pulse bus 58 times but only encountered a fare officer 30 times. On 12 trips, investigators presented an invalid ticket and were only caught once.

Auditors say the date on the bus tickets can be hard to read but they also noticed other flaws with fare enforcement aboard the Pulse.

“The inspectors didn’t go back to the back of the bus. Sometimes they asked people from the front to raise their ticket. Also they didn’t look closely at the tickets,” Bret Lewis, Richmond’s lead auditor, said. “They also lost track of who entered and exited the bus.”

Auditors also found fare inspectors aren’t qualified to issue summonses to passengers who don’t pay. GRTC uses a third party vendor for fare enforcement.

GRTC’s CEO Julie Trimm says to issue summonses the fare officers are required to have armed enforcement training even though they wouldn’t be armed on the bus.

Trimm told auditors the audit was helpful and said GRTC has been in touch with the vendor and a corrective action plan is underway.


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