Intercity Transit Vanpool volunteer overcharged riders, according to investigation

A volunteer with Intercity Transit’s vanpool program was charging riders higher-than-posted rates for more than four years, according to an investigation released this week by the Washington State Auditor’s Office.

The transit agency’s vanpool manager notified the auditor’s office May 1, 2013, after a rider reported being charged a different rate than the fare chart.

The report reveals a total loss of $10,203.90 between February 2009 and April 2013. According to the investigation, the volunteer routinely billed his riders more than the correct amount, then failed to report all vanpool riders to Intercity Transit.

“We found inadequate controls over monitoring vanpool rider billings,” the report said. “We recommend (Intercity Transit) strengthen internal controls over monitoring vanpool coordinator billings to ensure adequate oversight to safeguard public resources.”

The matter has been referred to the Thurston County Prosecutor’s Office. Intercity Transit changed its vanpool fare collection procedures May 2, 2013, in response to the loss, according to the report.

In an email, Intercity Transit spokeswoman Meg Kester said the agency has notified Olympia police and will attempt to recover $6,138.52 for related investigation costs.

Intercity Transit’s 2014 operating budget is $37.2 million, and about 63 percent of its revenue is generated through local sales tax. The vanpool program consists of 218 vans with about 1,700 commuters, with 762,000 total passenger trips in 2013, the agency reports.