A Technical Glitch Gives Free Rides to Moscow Rail Passengers — Just In Time For Christmas

One company’s glitch turned out to be a traveler’s Christmas miracle when a technical error helped some riders score some extra train time. 

Some lucky riders of the new Moscow Rail suburban line were surprised this week when a glitch with their pre-paid cards showed a balance of an extra $320 (20,000 roubles), the BBC reported.

Photographer Anton Belitskiy detailed his experience, on a Russian blogging site, with the unexpected windfall this week. He said after scanning his card, which he knew previously had less than 100 roubles as a balance (about $1.60), he saw an impossibly large balance. When he told ticketing controllers what had happened, they couldn’t figure out the glitch either.

Moscow transport officials confirmed that the glitch was happening to certain cards. "True, there were some cases of extra sums being credited to Troika cards after rides were paid on the scanners at Moscow Central Diameters (MCD) stations," the transport department said, according to the BBC.

"The lucky ones who found such a credit on their card can regard it as a new year gift," the added.

The MCD is a new public transport system in Moscow that opened last month but only began taking payment from passengers on December 9 because of initial problems with ticketing. The cost of a ride on the MCD in Moscow’s central zone is 38 roubles or about 60 cents.

But it seems that transport officials are on the lookout for the lucky — er, faulty — cards.

One official reached out to Belitskiy and offered to exchange his card for one that wasn’t defective.

When Belitskiy received the card, his new balance was only 1,000 roubles, he updated blog readers on Monday. But he also received a few gifts in exchange for his honesty: a portable charger, a Christmas ornament and two pens.

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