Straphanger Rachel Frank made four futile attempts to refill her MetroCard Tuesday afternoon, at all three machines at the Myrtle-Willoughby G train stop in Bed-Stuy. All of the machines were sluggish, and ended up spitting her debit and credit cards back out with the message: "SORRY, WE ARE UNABLE TO PROCESS YOUR REQUEST." It wasn't until hours later, when her credit card was denied at an uptown subway station, that Frank realized the MTA had charged her four times for rides she never received: twice for $121 monthly cards, and twice for $32 weekly cards.
"My bank thought it would be faster [to resolve this] if I called the MTA and I'm thinking, 'Oh you don't live in this city,'" Frank, 36, quipped on Wednesday morning.
According to Frank, several fellow riders were running into the same issue at Myrtle-Willoughby around noon on Tuesday. "A lot of people were trying to go to work and may not know to check their credit card and bank statements," she said.
The MTA acknowledged an issue Tuesday afternoon, but deemed it resolved in less than an hour and did not acknowledged a money-eating issue.
No credit or debit card transactions at all MVM/MEM machines. We are working to correct the problem. We apologize for the inconvenience.
— NYCT Subway (@NYCTSubway) October 10, 2017
To refresh, the MTA's MetroCard machines have been plagued this week. On Monday, we reported than an untold number of MetroCard machines at stations across the city went cash-only during morning rush hour. This apparently stemmed from a system upgrade that was only supposed to last through the overnight hours the previous Friday. The MTA eventually acknowledged the issue on Twitter, and deemed it resolved at 10:55 a.m. Monday.
— Robby Marshal (@RobbyMarshal718) October 10, 2017
But MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz confirmed Wednesday that system issues continued to bleed into Tuesday's commute.
"There were intermittent problems yesterday," Ortiz told Gothamist. "Customers who have problems purchasing a MetroCard can file a claim here."
Asked if the problem stemmed from the weekend system upgrade, Ortiz said only, "unclear." The authority tweeted at one rider that "most" charges will be resolved with a credit from the MTA within seven days, though some people may still have to file claims.
Ortiz added that the issue was not system-wide, and claimed that it has since been resolved, though complaints are continuing to crop up on Twitter.
James Vigotty, 55, of Queens says he made three attempts to refill his monthly card at the Sutphin Boulevard-Archer Avenue E/J/Z stop Tuesday night around 10:00, with a pre-paid debit card. He assumed the transactions were simply failing until a text notified him on the fourth try that he didn't have enough money in his account to proceed. (An avid planner, Vigotty said he often loads a pre-paid card with several hundred dollars reserved for MetroCards, Ubers and online ticket purchases so "if anything goes wrong I'm only out a few hundred bucks.")
"It said processing, then transaction failed," Vigotty said. "And finally there was not enough money on my card, and I saw they had taken out $121 three times. I'm not a happy camper right now... most cards when you do a disputed charge it can take a week or more."
"After this summer, with trains crashing and everything else, this is just one more nail in the coffin," Vigotty added. "I'm at the point now that I'm a life-long New Yorker, [but] moving is looking good. I mean, let me say this: the MTA is just the salt in an open wound."