More than two dozen barrels of fare money are sitting in a Port Authority vault because there hasn't been enough staff to unfold the dollar bills. The 15 employees of the cash room did not work a collective 769 hours in December alone, when a fare increase is bringing in 16% more bills, according to PAT spokesperson Judi McNeil. She says that's 3 to 4 times the average, and because of work practices they can't pull from other departments.
The amount, which is roughly one month of fares, would earn roughly $5,000 a month in interest if deposited in a bank. McNeil says that less than .001% of fare box revenues, but they are concerned and are trying to get the money deposited as soon as possible. She says they're balancing overtime to ensure a gain, and are looking at temporarily reclassifying vacant finance department positions to help shrink the backlog. They're also considering outsourcing the whole process to a bank.
McNeil says she can't say when the backlog will be cleared, but the barrels remain in a guarded, secure vault.