The union representing transit drivers wants Winnipeg Transit to review the Peggo card system.
Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1505 President Aleem Chaudhary says the city should take a very thorough look at the system to see if it can be fixed or if there are better alternatives.
ATU Local 1505’s issues with the system stem from a recent error that overcharged 36 Winnipeggers approximately $72,000 because of a glitch with the card’s auto reload feature. One man was slapped with a credit card bill of just over $8,000.
“We warned Transit about this some time ago,” Chaudhary said. “The system was obsolete when they bought it.”
“It’s a system that is three generations behind its time.”
Winnipeg Transit says it has completed the refund process for the affected riders.
Winnipeg Transit recently said it was going to conduct a system-wide review to determine how they can better serve Winnipeggers.
“We’re asking that they include the Peggo system in that review,” Chaudhary said. “When they do I’m sure they will find that more people have been overcharged than they thought, even if it’s just a few dollars.”
Chaudhary says there are a number of issues with Peggo cards in addition to overcharging; including money reloads taking 24-48 hours to actually show up on the card and issues with the new fare boxes that were installed to accommodate the cards.
He says they aren’t necessarily calling for the system to be scrapped, but he wouldn’t rule that out as a desired option.
“It’s going to cost a lot of money to fix it but replacing it is going to cost a lot of money as well,” Chaudhary said. “But the way it is right now is this system is costing millions.”
Winnipeg Transit’s Acting Director, Greg Ewankiw says the Peggo program isn’t costing any additional money than what the city budgeted for it.
He also said the city won't commit to a review at this time as the system is still in its implementation phase, which means it’s always being reviewed.
“We constantly monitor the system and that’s how we found out we had the issues with the auto reload feature,” Ewankiw said. “We took immediate action to turn the feature off to minimize the impact to all of our customers.”
Ewankiw says there are 100,000 Peggo cards in use in Winnipeg and there are around 91,000 taps on fare boxes per day.
He adds approximately 2,000 people use the auto reload feature.