A city audit faulted Denver International Airport on Thursday for lax oversight of a major parking shuttle contract, resulting in travelers often waiting too long for buses and a failure to assess millions of dollars in potential penalties.
Buses operated by ABM Parking Services shuttle thousands of DIA passengers and employees from outlying lots. Prior to the shutdown of some lots early last year due to the pandemic, auditors found, the contractor failed to meet a standard requiring that 95% of buses be on time every single day for more than three years.
DIA could have charged ABM nearly $5 million in penalties for late buses under the contract even if it zeroed in only on peak travel times, the audit says, but airport officials did not.
The auditors faulted DIA for inadequately monitoring the on-time performance and failing to keep track of riders’ complaints. The audit also cited concerns about contract monitoring in other areas.
“Poor contract oversight at Denver International Airport is a problem I’m seeing too often,” Denver Auditor Tim O’Brien said in a news release. “The airport’s operations are complex and expensive — making oversight, accountability and air-tight processes even more important.”
ABM’s $178 million, five-year contract expires early next year but is eligible for extensions. The company previously held the parking shuttle contract for nine years. When that contract was up several years ago, the audit says, DIA’s bid process wasn’t competitive enough.
DIA officials told the city’s Audit Committee on Thursday that they agreed with nearly all of the audit’s recommendations.
“We can’t thank you all enough for your hard work and effort,” said chief operating officer Steve Jaquith, who is new to the job. “Having a good audit gives us an opportunity of kind of reestablishing a baseline and serves as a great opportunity for us for continuous improvement. And we know we have a lot of room for improvement.”
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