When TAPS Public Transit last conducted its triennial review, results returned a laundry list of issues stemming from excess cash concerns, insufficient controls and late preventative vehicle maintenance. Now, in 2017, the agency’s most recent review shows no major infractions.
Officials with TAPS announced Monday that the last of three infractions found in the latest review have been resolved and have been cleared from the report. None of the three findings were related to the organization’s finances, record keeping or grant writing processes, officials said.
“It’s really a gold star for us,” Grayson County Judge Bill Magers, who serves as vice-chairman of the TAPS board, said. “It’s just one more piece of evidence that TAPS is moving forward and doing the right thing. It is a clear indicator to our clients and funders that things are better than it was two years ago.”
During Monday’s meeting, Transdev General Manager Josh Walker said the agency had resolved an issue related to excess fleet compared to its service coverage since it last met in early October. This comes as the agency has taken steps to reduce its fleet by selling and retiring excess vehicles and transferring surplus buses to other agencies that receive funding through the Federal Transit Administration or Texas Department of Transportation.
Within the past month, two buses were transferred to the city of McKinney for its transportation needs. Similarly, TAPS transferred two additional buses to the Denton County Transit Authority earlier this summer.
With the recent reductions in its fleet, Walker said the agency currently owns about 50 buses, but noted that many are not in road condition, while others have been cannibalized for spare parts. In total, about 22 buses are regularly used with about 15 on the road on any given day.
Prior to Monday’s meeting, the transit agency had already resolved and removed two other findings from the report related to its civil rights policy and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Walker said TAPS has updated its resolutions regarding Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The title prohibits discrimination “on the basis of race, color and national origin” for programs that receive federal funding. As a part of these updates, drivers have now been given information related to clients with limited English proficiency and a new complaint process for individuals with limited English skills has been added.
TAPS has also taken steps to better advertise and post its policies regarding the ADA. This includes additional information on the buses themselves.
TAPS’ clean report comes just two years after the agency went through a financial crisis that ultimately culminated with the drastic downsizing of its service area, fleet and workforce, as well as the exit of Collin County and McKinney from TAPS.
While the lack of findings will not have a direct impact on TAPS’ funding, Walker said the agency sometimes applies for competitive grants and a clean review will help the agency in these efforts.
Similarly, Magers said that he plans to meet with area organizations, including the United Way of Grayson County, about increasing the local match funding for TAPS. With no findings on the report, Magers said he hopes these organizations will feel confident putting money toward local transportation through TAPS.