Winnipeg Transit has apologized to customers after some transit riders were accidentally charged thousands of dollars in one day, due to a glitch.

A spokesperson with Winnipeg Transit said there was a problem with the auto reload feature that some Peggo card users have set up through their credit card.

Due to the issue, 36 people saw a total of $70,000 in accidental charges in less than 24 hours.

Alissa Clark, manager of communications with Winnipeg Transit, told CTV News they were first alerted to the problem Friday morning.

A post went up on their website explaining that the auto reload function for Peggo cards had been disabled.

Clark also said affected customers were sent an email on Saturday explaining what had happened.

The email reads: “Yesterday (February 2, 2018) we experienced a system issue with the auto reload function that caused your auto reload transaction to be posted multiple times to your credit card. We have processed refunds for each transaction and sincerely apologize for this inconvenience. We will additionally reimburse your original auto reload purchase as a token of our apology. The auto reload function has been temporarily disabled until this problem can be rectified. We thank you for your patience.”

Scott Hazlitt, one of the customers affected by the glitch, told CTV News he discovered the problem Friday morning while taking the bus downtown for work, which is a daily routine for the Winnipeg man.

Hazlitt’s credit card was hooked up to his Peggo account, enabling his Peggo card to be automatically reloaded with $50 each time it dipped below a certain amount.

“Each time my card gets reloaded with $50, I get an email,” said Hazlitt.

“I had a constant stream of emails coming through, like one after the other after the other.”

Upon checking his credit card statement, Hazlitt realized he’d been charged the $50 to reload --161 times.

The total charges were over $8,000, which Hazlitt said maxed out his credit card.

“I couldn’t use my credit card for at least three days. It’s a good thing there wasn’t an emergency, or if something had come up, or if I was travelling.”

In spite of the charges, Hazlitt said he was embarrassed to find he couldn’t use his Peggo card over the weekend and one bus driver demanded proof that he had actually reloaded it.  

Going forward, Hazlitt told CTV he planned to avoid the auto reload feature.

Hazlitt said less than half the charges had been returned to his credit card, but that they were being returned in $50 increments and he expected more to show up in the near future.

Winnipeg Transit told CTV News that all customers had been refunded in full, and that it was working with its contractors to ensure a “permanent fix” was in place before re-enabling the reload feature.

The Amalgamated Transit Union sent CTV News a statement: "The problems we're seeing with the Peggo card system are indicative of a larger issue with Transit, a system that we've failed to invest in. When you cut corners instead of investing in quality service, the results speak for themselves. 

"For too long, we've heard about Peggo cards that don't work, buses that don't show up or a transit service that doesn't meet the needs of working families and students in Winnipeg. These difficulties don't encourage ridership and only make it tougher if you have to rely on transit in Winnipeg. If we are truly serious about servicing a growing city, we need to invest in transit today."