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Some NYC subway riders are accidentally getting double-charged because of Apple Pay

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Your phone may be getting too close to the reader

By Andrew J. Hawkins / @andyjayhawk


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Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Dozens of subway riders in New York City are being charged extra for their transit rides, and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority suspects that Apple may be partly to blame.

The MTA is not explicitly pointing the finger at Apple, but it appears that some riders may be unwittingly putting their iPhones too close to the system’s new tap-to-pay OMNY readers while simultaneously swiping their MetroCards at the turnstile.

Last spring, the MTA began installing tap-to-pay readers as part of its new fare payment system called OMNY, which stands for “One Metro New York.” Soon after, Apple announced a new feature called Express Transit, which would allow customers to pay for riding the subway without opening an app or unlocking their phone. They simply needed to place their iPhones on the reader and then walk through the turnstile.

The trouble is some people have the Express Transit feature enabled, but are still using their MetroCard to pay for rides. While swiping their MetroCard, their iPhones are somehow coming into contact with the reader, either because they were holding it in their hands or through a pocket or purse, the MTA suspects. However it happens, they are getting charged twice for the ride. Gothamist, which first reported the incidents, highlighted the tweets from some of the people who were doubly charged.

Naturally, many of these people assume the problem is with the MTA, and not their own behavior. But the MTA insists that it is not to blame, and that it’s working with Apple to address the problem.

“We’ve been notified by about 30 customers, out of more than 5,000,000 taps so far, about unintended charges when the Express Transit feature of their iPhones is activated,” Al Putre, the head of OMNY at the MTA, said in a statement. “The system is a popular success that’s working well for the vast majority of people and we’re in touch with Apple about addressing the issue of unintended taps.”

“We’ve been notified by about 30 customers”

Express Transit first arrived with iOS 12.3 and watchOS 5.2.1 updates. Apple billed it as an easy and convenient way to pay for transit with Apple Pay without having to use Touch or Face ID to unlock your phone. The MTA hopes to have OMNY readers installed in every subway station and on all bus routes by late 2020, at which time they’ll add more fare options.

Initially, Apple customers had to enable Express Transit through the settings on their iPhones. People who live in New York City who add a credit or debit card to their iPhones are asked whether they want to enable Express Transit. Some of these people probably said yes without realizing what the feature did, and then continued to pay for subway rides with their MetroCard.

In addition to New York, Apple’s Express Transit is available to transit riders in Portland, London, Shanghai, Beijing, and Tokyo.

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Why are so many people being double-charged to use the NYC subway?


Caroline English is the head of The Points Guy brand marketing team. Caroline dreams up the creative campaigns that inspire your next adventures.

Jan. 19, 2020

3 min read

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Late last year, I visited London and marveled at the efficient contactless payment system the Tube uses. I became even more excited to adopt New York City’s contactless fare system — called OMNY — when I returned home from London. OMNY started its rollout in May 2019 and is expected to be available across MTA buses and subways in late 2020.

Image courtesy of

I am a heavy user of Apple Pay, connecting it to any account that will let me, and using it as my main form of payment at stores. My Apple Watch with Apple Pay has been one of my favorite purchases in years, so you can bet I’m going to be one of the first people to enthusiastically use OMNY.

One of the main differences between the London and New York systems is the portal for contactless payment. In London, they use small plastic yellow terminals, while in New York they are introducing small iPad-like screens. Introducing a fragile terminal in New York seems like an obvious flaw, and before the system is even fully rolled out I counted at least 2two broken screens at the Union Square subway stop.

As a member of TPG’s social media team and a millennial that likes to photograph everything, I wanted to snap a quick photo of the broken terminals while passing though at a low traffic time. After taking the photo, I kept my phone in my right hand and used my left hand to reach over and swipe my unlimited Metrocard. Before the card could register, my phone authorized the contactless payment.

How could it do this? Apple Wallet has a feature called “Transit Express.” Once toggled on, it’s designed to authorize transit payments without additional authorization.

I’m not the only one this is happening to. For some, this double-payment is happening even while their phone is safely in their purse or pocket.

Since I use my Apple Watch daily, I’m surprised this has only happened to me once.

In a Twitter reply to an OMNY double-pay complaint, MTA is encouraging subway customers to disable Transit Express while using the subway system.

Maybe I toggled the function on when I was in London. Maybe it slid on when I added my new Amex Gold card to my Apple Wallet. However it got turned on, let my mistake be a lesson to you. Unless you’re going to use Apple Pay at the OMNY terminals, make sure this feature is turned off.

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how to be? — Bryansk city administration

When traveling by municipal public transport, there are cases when passengers cannot pay with a card, due to the fact that it is blocked and is on the “stop list”. Why is this happening and how to act in such a situation? This was told by the head of the transport department Igor Chubchikov. The day before, he rode the bus, intentionally paying for the fare with an “empty” card, in order to check from personal experience how quickly a card can be removed from the “stop list”.

Why is the card blocked?

The card is blocked only if there are not enough funds on it to travel. Blocking is carried out automatically by the electronic fare collection system.

There are no funds on the card, but the conductor’s terminal issued a ticket. How is this possible?

The blocking of the card does not occur immediately. When driving, the Internet does not work steadily. In this regard, the electronic fare collection system can debit money from your card only after it establishes a reliable connection to the Internet. This can happen immediately, or maybe after 5-10-15 minutes. At the same time, the terminal issues a travel check as soon as you present the card. What is it for? In order not to create a queue. One can only imagine what kind of queue the conductor would have collected if he had been waiting for a stable connection to the Internet. Once again, we note that even if there is no money on your card, you will first be given a check, and only after that the system will start debiting.

For example: the head of the city’s transportation department paid for the travel of two people with a card that did not have funds. The terminal issued 2 travel receipts. At the same time, the write-off occurred a few minutes later, when he had already got off the bus at the next stop.

How does the electronic system deduct money from the card?

The electronic fare collection system «addresses» your card through the bank. If there are no funds on the card, the system automatically puts your card in the «stop list». At the same time, the system begins to “refer” to your card at regular intervals, finding out if money has appeared on the card. It is worth noting that the faster you replenish the card, the faster the system will remove your card from the “stop list”.

Why is this happening? The fact is that for each “appeal” of the system to your card, the system operator pays money to the bank. Therefore, at first the system makes frequent requests, trying to write off money in order to unlock the card faster, over time, if the card is still not replenished, the request frequency is reduced to 1 time per day.

Is it possible to speed up the process of withdrawing a card from the «stop list»?

Yes. To speed up the unlocking of the card, you can use two methods:

  1. Inform the operator of the electronic system about card replenishment by calling the following phone numbers:
  • 8-800-222-33-50
  • 8-920-820-31-00
  • -0 8-924 -00
  1. Independently unblock the card in your personal account on the website of the operator of the electronic fare collection system RIC JSC.

Here is a detailed algorithm on how to unlock on the website of the payment system operator.

Download algorithm>>>

Screenshots taken from the personal account of the head of the city department of transport during self-unlocking.

When will the card be unblocked?

If you call the operator or perform an independent unblocking through your personal account, the system at the same minute “accesses” the card, writes off the debt and automatically removes the card from the “stop list”.

If for some reason you did not do this, the card will be unblocked only within a day.

Can I pay with a blocked card elsewhere, for example, in a store?

If you have already topped up the card, but it is still blocked, then you can use it without any problems in a store or when paying for other services. Card blocking applies only to travel in municipal public transport.

Is it possible to double charge from the card for a single trip?

There have been complaints about double fares. In each case, an individual check was carried out. At the moment, there is not a single confirmed fact of double debiting of funds for a single trip.

At the same time, if you have any doubts about the correctness of debiting money for travel on a bus or trolleybus, you can contact the operator of the electronic fare collection system RIC JSC by phone:

  • 8-800-222-33-50
  • 8-920-820-31-00
  • 8-920-082-34-00

You can contact the city transport department:

Address: 241050, Bryansk, st. Fokina, 79

E-mail: [email protected]

Phone: (4832) 74-09-76.

Payment for holidays with shift work

Payment for holidays with shift work in accordance with the requirements of labor legislation is carried out at an increased rate. From our article you will learn about the nuances of such a surcharge.

How a holiday is paid during shift work

Payment for holidays is regulated by labor legislation. According to Art. 153 of the Labor Code of the Russian Federation, work on a state holiday is paid at least twice the amount

According to Art. 112 of the Labor Code of the Russian Federation holidays in the Russian Federation:

  • January 1-6, 8 — New Year holidays;
  • January 7 — Christmas;
  • February 23 — Defender of the Fatherland Day;
  • March 8 — International Women’s Day;
  • May 1 — Spring and Labor Day;
  • May 9 — Victory Day;
  • June 12 — Day of Russia;
  • November 4 — National Unity Day.

But often holidays fall on Saturday and Sunday, so officials approve plans to transfer holidays to nearby dates (part 5 of article 112 of the Labor Code of the Russian Federation). The transfer schedule is approved annually. You can find out how we rest in 2023 in our production calendar by clicking on the link.

ConsultantPlus experts explained how to pay for non-working holidays with a shift schedule. If you have access to K+, go for a turnkey solution. If you don’t have access, get a trial demo access to the system for free.

Most workers are accustomed to the combination of «work on a holiday — double pay.» This means that:

  • pieceworkers will be paid at least double piece rates;
  • workers who are paid at daily or hourly wage rates will receive at least double the daily/hourly wage rate;
  • Salaried employees will receive at least a single daily or hourly rate for working within the monthly norm of working hours, and for working in excess of the monthly norm — at least double the daily or hourly rate / part of the salary.

At the same time, payment in an increased amount is made precisely for the hours actually worked on a weekend or non-working holiday. If part of the working day (shift) falls on a weekend or non-working holiday, not the whole day is paid at an increased rate, but the hours actually worked on the weekend or non-working holiday (from 0 hours to 24 hours).

This approach does not contradict the law, but for the purpose of remuneration it is not the only option.

At the request of an employee who worked on a non-working holiday, he can be given another day of rest. Then work on a non-working holiday is paid in the usual (single) amount, and the day of rest is not paid.

If an employee works on a shift schedule and his shift falls on a non-working holiday, such work is also paid at a higher rate. Shift workers have a nuance in paying holidays: if the work was carried out within the limits of the employee’s working time in the corresponding period, then it will not be possible to replace this day with the consent of the employee with a single payment and time off (paragraph 5 of the recommendation of the Federal Service for Labor and Employment dated 06/02/2014 ). But if such work on a holiday is done in excess of the normal working time, the employee chooses for himself: either double pay, or single pay plus time off.

Nuances of «holiday» payment

First of all, we note that the day before the holiday, employees work 1 hour less (Article 95 of the Labor Code of the Russian Federation). For example, with an 8-hour working day on a pre-holiday day, workers can work 7 hours and then go home. If the employer demands to work 8 hours, then the eighth hour of the employee’s work will become overtime. You will either have to pay it in one and a half times, or give the employee additional rest time in the amount of 1 hour.

How to pay for annual leave, which will include holidays, provided that the employee has a shift work schedule, ConsultantPlus experts explained. Get a trial demo access to the system and switch to a ready-made solution for free.

Despite the fact that, as a rule, employees do not work on holidays, the employer can call employees without their consent:

  • to prevent or eliminate the consequences of a work accident or emergency;
  • prevention of accidents, as well as preventing the destruction or damage to property;
  • performance of work in a state of emergency, martial law (Article 113 of the Labor Code of the Russian Federation).

Payment for work on a holiday in such cases is carried out according to the general rule: at least double the amount or single plus unpaid time off.

The law establishes the minimum amount of payment for public holidays. The legislation does not contain a maximum limit for wages on a holiday. A local regulation, a collective agreement, an industry agreement on wages may provide for a different procedure for paying holidays, but no worse than provided for in Art. 153 of the Labor Code of the Russian Federation.

You can find a sample of the local wage regulation here.

What about regional holidays? These include holidays established by the constituent entities of the Russian Federation (Radonitsa, Eid al-Adha, Eid al-Adha, Easter). Since in Art. 153 of the Labor Code of the Russian Federation does not indicate that only the dates listed in Art. 112 of the Labor Code of the Russian Federation, in our opinion, employers have the right to charge double payment for work on a regional holiday.