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A Greener New York
Frequently Asked Questions
- When is the deadline for making purchases?
You must make your public transportation or vanpool elections by the first of the month, two months before the commuting month. This deadline applies if you use the NYS-Ride website or automated telephone system. The automated phone system accepts elections for a limited number of public transportation providers, order changes, and order cancellations. If you wish to make, change, or cancel your election, you must do so online by 11:59 p.m. by the first of the month or by telephone by 8 p.m. on the workday on or before the first of the month. Customer service representatives are available
Monday through Friday, 8:00a.m.-8:00p.m. Eastern Time, except holidays.
- Can I sign up to get my transit pass or vanpool voucher purchase automatically without re-ordering my pass from WageWorks every month?
Yes. By selecting Every Month as the frequency when you make your first purchase, you will automatically be signed up to receive your mass transit fare media, vanpool voucher or pass every month until you make a change or miss a payroll deduction.
- How will I pay for my commuting expenses?
When you enroll in NYS-Ride, your eligible commuting expenses will be paid on a pre-tax basis through your
biweekly paychecks, up to the IRS monthly limit for public transportation. You must receive two successive payroll deductions before WageWorks will mail your order (refer to the month-by-month NYS-Ride Election and Pay Schedule here). If you have commuting expenses that exceed the monthly IRS limit, the difference will be paid on a post-tax basis.
- What if I miss the deadline?
If you make, change, or cancel your election online after 11:59 p.m. on the first of the month, it will simply
be considered as an election for the next deadline. For example, if you order a pass on August 2, your election
will become effective for the transit pass you will receive for November.
- If I've made an election, can I make changes or cancel my election up to the deadline?
Yes. You must make any changes or cancellations to your public transportation or vanpool purchases online by 11:59 p.m. by the first of the month, two months before the commuter month (unless you prefer to speak to a customer service representative, as explained in the first question). The last elections you make before the deadline will be the elections used to process your orders.
- Why can't I make changes after the deadline?
Federal regulations require that elections be made on a prospective basis. Changes or cancellations must be made by the first of the month.
- I've registered but there aren't any elections in My Account. Why?
After you register with WageWorks, the next step is to select the type of public transportation or vanpool that you use. On the Commuter Overview page, click on
Place Commuter Order; on the Select Benefit page, click on Public Transportation or Vanpool; and follow the instructions. After you have completed your selections, you will see a summary of your elections under Account Dashboard.
- What if my commuting costs or patterns change?
Under NYS-Ride you are always free to change your participation during the year. For example, if you move, transfer to another work location, or your commuter costs change, you may have the need to adjust your commuter purchases. You can make changes online. All online changes must be made by 11:59 p.m. by the first of the month, two months before the commuting month.
- What if I have a change of address?
If you have a change of address, simply make the change in your online profile or by calling customer service.
- What happens in a three-pay-period month?
The Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) will take equal deductions from your biweekly paycheck to cover the cost of your transit pass. In three-pay-period months, OSC will take deductions from the first two paychecks and no deduction from the third. This is not considered a "missed deduction."
- What if I go on leave without pay or miss a payroll deduction?
If you miss a deduction for any reason other than described above for three-pay-period months, your participation in NYS-Ride will be terminated. When you return to the payroll, you can reactivate your participation online or by calling customer service.
- Who should I contact if I have further questions about NYS-Ride?
For more information on how NYS-Ride works, contact WageWorks directly. You can call toll free to
(866) 428-7781. Employees who are hearing impaired may contact WageWorks customer service through TDD at (866) 353-8058. You also can send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- What if I resign, retire, or am subject to layoff?
If you resign, retire, or are subject to layoff, you will be ineligible to participate in the NYS-Ride program upon termination of employment.
See Forfeiture Rules section for more information.
- What is the WageWorks Commuter Card?
The Commuter Card is a permanent stored value card, or "electronic voucher," that can be used to make purchases at transit agency ticket vending machines and works just like a traditional credit card or debit card used at those same machines. You determine how much to put on the card each month and any unused balance remaining on the card carries forward for future use.
- How do I fund my Commuter Card?
The Commuter Card is funded by payroll deduction. The card is funded on the 20th of the month prior to the
benefit month. Any unused funds will remain available for future use and roll over from month to month. The
card is not transferable between employees or employers and has a maximum balance limit of $2,500.
- Where can I use the Commuter Card?
You can use the Commuter Card to purchase tickets at ticket vending machines of many transit providers throughout the state, which include: MTA, NJ Transit, NY WaterWay, CDTA, Adirondack Trailways, Niagara Frontier, and Amtrak. The WageWorks website includes a full list of providers where you can use this new transit benefit purchase option, or call customer service at (866) 428-7781
(TDD (866) 353-8058) and a representative will supply you with this same information.
- Do I have to do anything once I receive my Commuter Card in the mail?
Yes. You must activate your card prior to use. There is an activation sticker on the front of your card that states: "Your new WageWorks Card requires activation. Please call toll-free (800) 640-5071. You must activate the card in order to use it."
- What happens if my Commuter Card is lost or damaged?
If your Commuter Card is ever damaged or lost and you need to purchase a pass out-of-pocket, the reimbursement for that expense is guaranteed up to the available balance on the card. Also, the MTA has an insurance program for customers who purchase their 30-day MetroCard with the Commuter Card. If you lose your 30-day MetroCard, the MTA can deactivate the card and refund a pro-rated portion of your unused card back to your Commuter Card to purchase a new MetroCard. This insurance program is only available for the 30-day MetroCard. More information is available at http://www.mta.info/metrocard/insurance.htm.
- What if my Commuter Card account balance doesn't cover the cost of a transaction?
If the account balance is not sufficient to cover the transaction amount, the transaction will be declined through the credit card network at the point of purchase. You will need to use another form of payment to complete this transaction.
- What happens to my Commuter Card balance if my commuting pattern changes or I go on vacation?
If your commuting pattern changes at different times of the year (for example, during the summer months or when you go on vacation), you may find the flexibility of the Commuter Card attractive because you can use the card to purchase different fare options depending on your commute. Any balance you don't use in a month stays on the card for use in a future month.
- What happens to my WageWorks Commuter Card if I leave state service?
If you leave State service, your Commuter Card will become inactive 90 days after WageWorks receives a termination date from New York State. WageWorks will send you an email informing you of the 90-day period. Once the Commuter Card becomes inactive, any remaining funds will be removed from the Card and the pre-tax funds will be forfeited back to New York State. If you have any remaining post-tax funds, the Office of the State Comptroller will reimburse you by check or direct deposit to your checking or savings account.
- Can I use my Commuter Card for purchases other than transportation?
The Commuter Card is a limited use card; there are restrictions on where, when, and how the card can be used for payment. The restricted use option ensures that the card can be used only to pay for commuter expenses and cannot be used to pay for products and services that are clearly not eligible for payment from a Commuter Benefits Account. If the card is being used at an unapproved merchant, the transaction will be declined through the credit card network at the point of purchase. You will need to use another form of payment to complete this transaction.
- How do I switch my current order to the Commuter Card?
If you would like to learn more about the Commuter Card or consider switching your current order to the Commuter Card for an upcoming benefit month, please log into your account or call (866) 428-7781. Employees who are hearing impaired may contact WageWorks customer service through TDD at
- What are the benefits to using the Commuter Card?
Flexibility, Protection, and No Monthly Mailing
- Flexibility: Unused funds remain on the Commuter Card until the expiration date, allowing for greater flexibility and control of pre-tax funds. Mailing passes and waiting for account credit is eliminated.
- Protection: If your Commuter Card is ever damaged or lost and you need to purchase a pass out-of-pocket, the reimbursement for that expense is guaranteed up to the available balance on the Commuter Card.
- No Monthly Mailing: The Commuter Card does not require monthly mailing. The card is mailed once and does not expire for three years.
Public Transportation and Vanpool Vouchers or Passes
- How and when do I receive my public transportation fare media, such as bus, subway, or rail passes, fare cards, or vanpool vouchers or passes?
Your fare media or vanpool vouchers or passes will be mailed directly to your address of record and will arrive before the end of each month. You do not pay postage or handling fees.
- What if I don't receive my fare media or vanpool vouchers or passes?
In the unlikely event that your fare media or vanpool vouchers or passes do not arrive before the first of the month, contact WageWorks at (866) 428-7781. Employees who are hearing impaired may contact WageWorks customer service through TDD at (866) 353-8058. You must contact customer service to report the missing order within the first three business days of the month.
- What if my fare media or vanpool vouchers or passes arrive but then are misplaced or lost?
If you receive and then misplace or lose your fare media or vanpool vouchers or passes, WageWorks cannot replace them. You will need to purchase replacements on your own, on a post-tax basis. However, WageWorks Commuter Cards are replaceable at any time if they are lost or stolen.
- Under NYS-Ride, does New York State pay for my public transportation?
No. Under NYS-Ride, you continue to pay for your public transportation. The program provides you with the opportunity to pay for these items, up to IRS limits, with pre-tax wages, similar to the NYS Flex Spending Account and the pre-tax payment of health insurance premiums. Any amounts that you elect above the pre-tax limits will automatically be purchased through your biweekly deductions on a post-tax basis.
- What about alternative ways of getting to work?
IRS regulations allow tax benefits for parking and biking, but not for any other alternative means to get to work. NYS-Ride does not cover any alternative means.
- Will my participation in NYS-Ride affect my employee benefits?
Depending on your income, you may receive a slightly lower Social Security benefit at retirement because of your NYS-Ride pre-tax contributions. NYS-Ride elections reduce the earnings reported to the Social Security Administration. Therefore, the NYS-Ride reduction of social security taxes could slightly reduce Social Security benefits for people below the Social Security wage maximum.
NYS-Ride elections do not reduce contributions or benefits under your retirement plan, life insurance, or Medicare.
- Can I make commuter purchases if I retire, resign, or terminate my employment with the State?
NYS-Ride is a commute-to-work program. If you retire, resign, or terminate your employment with the State, you
cannot make an election and no further purchases will be processed for you. Any mass transit fare media, vanpool vouchers, or passes you already purchased before you left state employment will be provided as scheduled, but you cannot receive a refund for any purchase that you are unable to use. Additionally, refunds cannot be issued for any unused pre-tax deductions after you leave state service.
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