International Journal of Government Auditing – Autumn 2016
The need to optimize, modernize and extend the current metro network is rigorous and is generated by a number of factors including:
Currently, there are two primary organizations that provide modes of public transportation for Bucharest:
Prior to 1970, to meet the demand for public transport in Bucharest, tracks were provided for the major surface routes in accordance with the city’s architecture (generally characterized by having relatively narrow streets and urban agglomeration areas whose systematization is confronted with significant obstacles). The solutions applied to surface transportation proved insufficient and unattractive and did not provide adequate conditions for passenger comfort. Thus, in the 70s, the decision was made to introduce a new mode of transport—the underground electric railway—a solution designed to ease surface transport congestion, while providing significant time savings for users due to higher commercial speeds. The electric railway would also drastically reduce pollution and enhance convenience and safety. As the 1980s neared, the Bucharest underground network had been built, equipped and was operational.
To better understand the dimensional coordinates of the METROREX activity, refer to the map of the Bucharest City metro network (Figure 1) and the chart highlighting the number of passengers (travelers) during the years 2010–2014 (Chart 1).
The audit mission’s overall objective was to evaluate government transportprograms andactivityperformance with respect to implementation and operational efficiency and effectiveness. The audit also intended to assess if performance indicators were established in accordance with requirements as prescribed in “The Overall Strategy for Development and Modernization of the Metro Transport in Bucharest 2008-2030.”
The audit mission focused on risk identification, as well as vulnerability management (with the potential to generate failures and deficiencies found in previous audit actions carried out by the Court of Accounts).
Specifically, the proposed objectives were:
The audit METROREX was conducted in terms of passenger satisfaction involving: (a) delivered services (by increasing quality anddiversification), and (b) level of passenger security and safety (expanding to attract more travelers to use underground transport).
The audit found two key conclusions:
There were also a number of relevant findings connected to the entity’s activities: (1) the development strategy of the underground transport in Bucharest, (2) financing of the activity, (3) citizen reaction to travel tariff increases, (4) slow progress in expanding the metro network, (5) operation and administration of premises, (6) passenger satisfaction for services offered and (7) issues related to emergency situations.
The recommendations cover several steps and measures, such as taking steps to include METROREX’s own strategy as part of a national program/strategy/transport master plan approved by the government or parliament would provide the “legal force” necessary to ensure funding predictability; identifying solutions to achieve proposed objectives; analyzing and adopting appropriate management by METROREX decision-makers and staff; performing comparative (benchmarking) and SWOT analyses to determine whether the activities are conducted in accordance with reported and recognized best practices; and improving the legislative framework.
The audit mission, “Performance Audit Covering the Underground Transport of Persons in Bucharest,” provides a tremendous public impact. Objective and reliable information on these issues helps to increase transparency and accountability of all key players.
The legislative branch needs reliable and independent information on government actions and on the effects of its own decisions and laws. The performance audit, an independent assessment of the Bucharest public subway service’s performance, provides evidence and secures guidance on critical points that need to be reformed. Identifying potential improvements assists with reformation and public administration efficiency, as well as reduces government spending, all of which add substantially more value than that of a single control mechanism. Providing proper information will facilitate the implementation of recommendations on improving the legislative framework to support the work of the underground metro transport and will help the metro network optimize, modernize and expand.
The audit mission offers data concerning the degree of achieving program and activity objectives financed via public funding. Through its recommendations, the audit covers a wide spectrum of issues and provides, where possible, generic solutions with respect to: developing a formal and effective framework (organizational); performing measurements and evaluations; stimulating an objective; and performing unbiased internal reviews of processes, practices and systems. By referring to the best practices, the audit recommendations also show an clear methodological role.
The general public are also taxpayers, making them primary stakeholders in knowing how public funds have been spent. Relevant social, political and economic matters also have an impact on the sustainable improvement of the general conditions of transport and life of the Romanian capital population.
In this framework, good communication with the media helps bridge the gap with citizens and other stakeholders and helps to build an accurate image concerning public services. Media opinions can generate significant impact on different issues included in the audit report.
Monitoring the implementation of recommendations, as well as the suggested improvements to the legislative framework on the underground transport (metro) activity provided by the Court of Accounts as a result of this audit will significantly help to optimize, modernize and expand the metro network, thus leading transport and quality of life sustainable improvements for residents of the Romanian capital.