Streams

Train Tix Get Longer Shelf Life...and Refund Time

Monday, July 23, 2012

WNYC
Tickets on this Metro-North train will be valid longer, starting in September. (traingeek/flickr)

Starting in September, Long Island Railroad and Metro-North riders have more time to use their tickets.  Tickets will be valid for two months, up from its current two week lifespan.

Riders will have two months to seek a refund, also up from two weeks.

A refund, however, will still cost ten dollars — even if the price of the ticket was less than $10.

It’s a policy that irks Bill Henderson, of the Long Island Railroad Commuter Council. He says Macy's doesn't charge its customers for a refund and neither should the MTA. "There's things that are part of the cost of doing business and we think refunding the cost of a ticket ought to be one of them," he said.

Henderson pointed out that riders seeking a refund on a ticket worth less than ten dollars could conceivably end up owing the railroad money.

The MTA countered, saying the charge is needed to partially cover the "the administrative expenses of issuing and mailing [refund] checks." The authority also said it will cost $6 million a year to extend the validity of its train tickets.

(Ten-trip tickets will remain valid for six months, and riders will have six months to refund them.)

The two-week validity and refund periods on tickets began in December 2010. The MTA says it enacted the changes "to reduce revenue loss from uncollected tickets and...partially cover the actual cost of processing the refund." But in an unusual admission, the authority said, "These policies generated numerous complaints from customers and elected officials" and led to the about-face.

The changes will take effect on September 4.

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