The state auditor's office today released a report that found a nearly $102-million discrepancy over five years between the cash the MBTA actually took in through fare boxes on buses and trolleys and the amount those boxes said they were fed.
The MBTA said that simply reflects software issues, not massive amounts of theft or money rolling behind driver's seats, and the auditor's office says that's possible, but there's currently no way to know for sure:
Because the MBTA lacked effective physical controls over the hundreds of keys that provide access to fare box cash at the time of its initial receipt and transfer into the MBTA revenue system, the MBTA cannot ensure that all fare box cash is properly safeguarded against possible loss, theft, or misuse.
The [automated fare collection] system does not properly record all essential events necessary to properly track the removal, deposit, and reinsertion of cash boxes into assigned fare boxes. The inability of the AFC system to give MBTA management reliable tracking information regarding the movement of fare box cash exposes such revenue to potential fraudulent activity.