Digital wallets and mobile payment systems all promise the convenience of nothing having to worry about paper bills and plastic cards. That goes for both having to carry them around in your pocket or bag as well as worrying about losing these separate pieces. You can lose your phone, though, or even lose the app that holds then. And when it comes to the latter, Google Pay offers the exact same assurance as physical transit passes and tickets: nothing.
Google Pay has been around for years and just last year it gained the ability to store train tickets and transit passes on your phone so you won’t have to juggle multiple ones or even take those physical items with you. It is definitely one of the digital wallet’s more convenient features but, unfortunately, it seems to forget all about it the moment you uninstall Google Pay from your phone.
It’s actually normal for mobile apps to uninstall all (or almost all) its data when it’s removed from a device as part of its cleanup, security, and privacy measures. That’s why there are frameworks and hooks for developers to use to save pieces of data in the cloud, often Google’s or sometimes even Facebook’s. Being a first-party Google app, you’d think Google Pay would be the same but apparently not.
The updated support page for Google Pay’s transit feature reveals that those passes and tickets are uninstalled along with the app, which means you lose access to them. The data is stored locally on the device, perhaps for security purposes and to prevent being abused. Unfortunately, users won’t know that until they’ve uninstalled the app or, worse, lost their phone and had it wiped remotely.
Unfortunately, users don’t have any recourse but to approach their transit agency and negotiate recovering your ticket. Google does provide steps on how to get your ticket number, presuming you still have access to the Google Pay app, one way or another.