Apple Pay is an option for MTA riders in New York City to use the MTA’s new OMNY tap-and-ride readers. However, some riders are finding it too easy to pay, as they report they’re being charged for MTA travel every time they walk by an OMNY reader!
The New York Post reports some New York City transit riders are seeing a $2.75 charge taken from their account, meaning they’re being taken for a ride even when they don’t want to take a ride.
Megan Bagg, 29, of SoHo, told The Post she had been charged twice, even though she had her iPhone in her bag.
“It was ridiculous. My phone was in my purse near my hip,” she said.
Bagg first thought her contactless credit card was to blame, even calling her bank to complain. But then a second charge occurred, and she wasn’t carrying that credit card when it happened.
“I’ve been keeping my purse far from the thing when I go through the turnstile,” she said.
Other transit riders report being charged a fare through Apple Pay, even when they don’t tap their Apple Watch or iPhone on the OMNY reader. Evidently, the riders get close enough to trigger Apple Pay on their iPhone or Apple Watch.
The Apple Pay Express Transit feature is. supposed to work as follows: To use the system, hold the iPhone or Apple Watch up to the display and you’ll hear a beep and see a big “Go” on the screen, and a “Done” message on your device.
However, the system seems to be a bit more sensitive than that.
While the issues don’t appear to be widespread, the MTA did confirm that it has heard from approximately 30 affected users so far:
MTA chief revenue officer Al Putre confirmed that “about 30 customers” had complained about “unintended charges when the Express Transit feature of their iPhones is activated.”
Putre continued, saying the MTA is working with Apple on a solution to the problem. For now, the best way to avoid the extra charges is to disable Apple Pay Express Transit mode in the Settings app on your iPhone.
The Gothamist suggests that since Apple it hasn’t seen this issue in other cities were Express Transit is available, the OMNY tap-and-ride readers are simply oversensitive. However, such an issue should also affect riders that use other devices to pay would also be affected. So far, we haven’t heard users of other devices being affected.