Watchdog: CTA has collected millions by over-reporting bus mileage

October 18, 2012

Quinn Ford

(Flickr/MD1111)

A new watchdog group is accusing the Chicago Transit Authority of “fraudulently over-reporting” the number of miles its buses drive while in-service.

The D.C.-based group, Cause for Action, released a report which said the CTA could have received up to $130 million from the federal government over the past 30 years as a result.  

The group’s executive director, Dan Epstein, said the CTA was reimbursed by the Federal Transit Authority for the miles between the garage and the official start of the bus route.

“Even though, that’s effectively ‘dead-head’ miles,” Epstein said. “The normal route of passenger pickups is not occurring.”

CTA spokesperson Tammy Chase said bus drivers are required to pick up riders during those “dead-head miles” if a rider waves the bus down.

She said the CTA stopped reporting those miles in 2011 at the Federal Transit Authority’s request, but she said the FTA did not require the CTA to change its past reporting.

“The FTA was okay with that,” Chase said, adding the FTA approved of the CTA’s methodology for reporting mileage each year.