The union representing transit drivers said it’s one of several problems reported with the reloadable, electronic payment system since it was rolled out last summer.
Erin Jones got an automated email message from Peggo Saturday morning saying her card had been reported lost or stolen or cancelled by her post-secondary institution.
Not only is Jones not enrolled in university or college, her card was in her wallet and she didn’t report it lost or stolen.
Following the first message, she got a second email saying the card had been "badlisted."
“I’m frustrated,” said Jones. “I’m just going to go so far to say when I used to drop cash in the box I never had this problem.”
Jones called 311 for help and was told she'd have to wait until Monday to speak with Winnipeg Transit.
Jones understands glitches can happen but she wonders why no one from Winnipeg Transit was able to help troubleshoot the problem over the weekend.
“I don’t fault 311…but it’s ridiculous to me that transit makes us use this service but has nobody to help us when their system glitches.”
On Tuesday, Jones said she got a call from a transit representative but she wasn't given an explanation about why her card was cancelled.
“She had no idea what had happened,” Jones explained. “She offered to send me a new card with a five dollar balance.”
The city wouldn’t accommodate a request for an interview on the issue on Tuesday but a spokesperson said it’s investigating what occurred with Jones’ card.
The city said 311 directs callers experiencing technical issues to contact the Transit Customer Service Centre which is open Monday to Friday during regular business hours.
The city’s website states Peggo cards are aimed at making fare payment “more convenient” but the acting president of the Amalgamated Transit Union worries technical glitches are putting drivers in a vulnerable position.
Aleem Chaudhary said drivers have been instructed to confiscate cards that have been badlisted but he said most drivers don’t to avoid conflict with passengers.
“It leads to confrontation,” said Chaudhary. “If somebody were to get on the bus and their card doesn’t work and if you try to take it away from them and there’s money on it they’re not going to be a happy camper.”
“That’s our biggest worry.”
Chaudhary said the most common problem has been with customers who try to use their card soon after reloading it. That’s because it can take up to 48 hours before fares are activated.
He said cards that don’t work can lead to delays when drivers are assisting passengers.
Chaudhary said most of the time if people have trouble with their cards and have no other way of paying, drivers will let them ride and pay double on their next trip.
Jones had already replaced her card over the weekend so she could take the bus on the weekend, and she now has three separate Peggo cards in her possession.
She’s now trying to transfer the balance of the three cards on to her newest card with the hope she won’t experience anymore problems moving forward.
Josh Crabb CTV News