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Sydney commuters have been overcharged more than a quarter of a million dollars in just 12 weeks by tapping on to the city’s public transport network with their credit cards or smartphones.
A fault to the government's new contactless payment method resulted in more than $266,000 having to be refunded to commuters from the last quarter of 2019, Transport for NSW confirmed to the Herald.
Transport for NSW have blamed the thousands of incorrect charges on "minor issues" experienced by one of its tech partners.CREDIT:MICHELE MOSSOP
The payment bungle was attributed to “minor issues” experienced by the government’s technology partners, with TfNSW insisting the problem had been completely corrected.
The payback represented only 0.6 of a per cent of the $46,000,000 in contactless payments collected over the 12 weeks, according to the department.
The technology – where a smartphone, credit or debit card is used to tap onto the Opal system – was extended to the entire network in September 2019, having been rolled out incrementally since late 2018.
The Transport for NSW spokeswoman said the payment issues had been resolved, with ‘card clash’ – where commuters accidentally scan several credit cards in their wallet – blamed for much of the problem.
Sydney commuters move through Circular Quay.CREDIT:MICHELE MOSSOP
“We would also like to remind customers to separate their cards when they tap on and tap off to ensure the preferred card is charged,” the spokeswoman said.
"On the rare occasion of system glitches and errors on the Opal network, Transport for NSW proactively refunds customers’ accounts."
While the government insisted it had repaid those overcharged, Sydney commuter Tory Torres, who says he was overcharged by $300, is yet to be reimbursed.
“If I robbed you of 300 odd dollars, I would be rightly arrested, why is Opal immune from the law,” he told the Herald.
Other users took to online forums to complain about their credit cards being charged multiple times for single trips, describing the system as “ridiculous”.
One commuter claimed they were charged $140 after an Opal machine gave several error messages as they attempted to pay multiple times.
Others said they had also been overcharged when using their credit cards, but hadn’t alerted the government to their issue.
“Total scam, they are banking on people not bothering like me,” they wrote.
Opposition transport spokesman Chris Minns criticised the Berejiklian government’s handling of the network.
"If a private business operated this way they'd be sued, but the NSW government acts as if they are above the law," he said.
This article first appeared on www.smh.com.au
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