MTS Receives Perfect Score by Federal Transit Administration

TransNet Audit Shows MTS is Most Efficient System in West

San Diego, CA –For the second consecutive time, the Federal Transit Administration found no deficiencies in its assessment of the Metropolitan Transit System’s compliance with federal requirements. In its Triennial Review, the FTA examined 24 areas of grant management practices and program implementation.

Further substantiating the FTA’s findings, the TransNet Independent Taxpayers Oversight Committee compared MTS to other transit systems in the United States and found that it is the most efficiently operated transit agency among nine peer systems.

“There were no deficiencies identified in accordance with FTA requirements. (MTS is) to be commended for an outstanding review,” said Leslie T. Rogers, Regional Administrator of the FTA, in a cover letter received by MTS this week with the Triennial Review results.

MTS also received a perfect score in its 2009 Triennial Review, meaning the FTA review has found no deficiencies at MTS for the last six years of operation.

Areas examined are: legal, financial, technical, satisfactory continuing control, maintenance, procurement, Disadvantaged Business Enterprise, Buy America, debarment and suspension, lobbying, planning/program of projects, Title VI, public comment of fare and service changes, half fare, ADA, charter bus, school bus, National Transit Database, safety and security, drug-free workplace, drug and alcohol program, Equal Employment Opportunity, ITS architectures, and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The Independent Taxpayers Oversight Committee (ITOC) for TransNet, found that MTS’s system wide performance outperformed the nine-peer average in all categories, which included operating cost per boarding, subsidy per boarding, operating cost per revenue mile,  and farebox recovery ratio (the percentage of operating costs paid by riders’ fares). The comparisons were made for both light rail and fixed bus route operations. The following chart summarizes its findings:


ITOC also cited findings by the State of California’s triennial Transportation Development Act audit, including:

  • MTS reduced its operating cost per passenger by four percent from the previous audit,
  • MTS experienced an 11 percent increase in ridership despite service reductions, resulting in an increase in passengers per service hour and service miles of 13 percent and 18 percent, respectively, and
  • The MTS farebox recovery ration increased from 37 percent to more than 43 percent, which is significantly higher than the 31.9 percent required by TDA.

“These audits reflect the results of our continuing efforts to place our limited resources where they are most needed and used,” said Harry Mathis, chairman of the MTS Board of Directors.  “This shows that we have a highly efficient and well run operation which provides a high level of service at the lowest cost to the taxpayer compared to other transit agencies.

MTS operates 53 miles of light rail and more than 90 bus routes. It is on pace to generate more than 90 million trips in fiscal year 2012. For more information, please go to

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