MV Transportation, a contractor for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) reached a nearly $200,000 settlement with WMATA over transporting phantom passengers without admitting or denying guilt.


The company is alleged to have “submitted inaccurate invoices for reimbursement for MetroAccess transportation services that charged for trips taken by customers who were known or should have been known by MV Transportation to be deceased,” according to the complaint that was filed by two former employees three years ago, and investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice, the District, Maryland and Virginia.

MetroAccess is a shared-ride, door-to-door, paratransit service for people with disabilities that prevent them from using the bus or rail system, according to WMATA’s website.

The company is not admitting to any wrongdoing, according to a MV Transportation spokesperson. “At times there were issues promptly conveying updates to passenger information from the subcontractor to MV to WMATA which led to billing errors,” Frenney-Wiggins said, adding that MV relied heavily on subcontractors – many recommended by WMATA – to perform services under the contract. The settlement was announced July 6 by attorneys general of Maryland, Virginia, and D.C.

“We expect that our taxpayers’ contributions will be used for the benefit of riders, not lost to fraudulent billing practices,” Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring said in a joint statement with his counterparts from the District and Maryland. “I’m proud we were able to work with our partners in Maryland, the District of Columbia, and the federal government to investigate and resolve these allegations, and riders can be sure that we will remain vigilant in protecting their investment in Metro.”

Even so, area residents said change is needed. “MetroAccess needs a complete overhaul similar to the one that Metrorail is now undergoing,” Ward 7 resident Kemise Richmond told the AFRO. Richmond’s son, who is wheelchair bound, relies on MetroAccess for medical appointments, but says reliability, professionalism, and vehicle maintenance remain an issue.

“WMATA has to get ahead of some of these issues because cheating them and their clients can easily happen. If these former employees had not come forward to blow the whistle on the contractor, the theft would have most likely continued,” Frenney-Wiggins said.

MV Transportation is currently resolving claims that the contractor falsely billed Metro between Jan. 1, 2005 and Dec. 31, 2013. During that time, Metro paid MV about $168 million for providing paratransit services in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, according to the company. The company also was accused of charging Metro for more expensive wheelchair-accessible vehicles for riders who didn’t actually need the service. Under the settlement, Maryland is slated to receive $92,000, D.C. will get $35,000, Virginia will get $22,000, and the two former bus drivers who uncovered the abuse will get a total of $27,000.

MV Transportation, in spite of the mismanagement, will continue to supply transportation services as a contractor for WMATA.