Operators Sales & Usage Declarations
More often than not, operators are selling multi-operator tickets through a number of channels: online, apps, street vending machines, travel shops and on the bus. These sales, along with usages, are then included on a declaration that is sent to the scheme administrators. But does anyone ever audit these figures?
EPM are the auditors for several schemes across the country and we frequently find errors on the returns – with understatements having run into hundreds of thousands of pounds. Typically, the understatements are due to products being missed off the returns, usually following a price rise or when a new ticket has been introduced, or the wrong dates are used when extracting ETM data.
As a direct result of these errors, the other participating operators do not receive their fair share of revenue. With an audit in place, the schemes are able to rectify the errors and put reimbursement right for all operators.
We have also seen cases where usage declarations are incorrect – which means some operators have benefited to the detriment of others. The errors range from the inclusion of incorrect product types, to usages occurring outside of the scheme area; but again highlights the high risk of error.
In recent years, we have uncovered an overstatement of usages by one operator of over 500% over the course of several years. Had a regular audit been in place from the start, the overstatements would have been identified sooner, making the recovery of funds much simpler.
Given the multitude of products on offer in multi-operator ticketing schemes, it is of course no surprise that errors occur. The audit function helps to ensure that the correct amount is available for distribution across the participating operators.