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The LIRRCC calls for ticket expiration and refund policy changes

The LIRRCC voted at its November meeting to take a stand on the ticket policies that were introduced last year (see our previous story on the topic) and issued this statement on November 16, 2011:

The Long Island Rail Road Commuter Council (LIRRCC) today called upon the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) to modify policies and procedures relating to ticket expiration dates and refund policies.  On December 30, 2010, a set of ticket policy changes significantly reduced the validity period of one-way, round-trip and ten-trip LIRR tickets and instituting a $10 per transaction refund processing fee for all tickets.  Current validity periods are 14 days for one-way and round-trip tickets, reduced from six months, and six months for ten-trip tickets, reduced from one year.

“These new policies are not working for Long Island commuters,” states LIRRCC Chair Mark Epstein. “They are leading to inconvenience, confusion, financial hardship, and frustration for Long Island Rail Road riders.  Riders are now reluctant to purchase tickets for future trips and risk being left with a worthless ticket or being forced to pay a refund processing fee.  The impact of these policy changes falls most heavily on occasional and discretionary riders, who often can choose whether or not to use the Rail Road.  This is not the way to build a new customer base.”

The Long Island Rail Road Commuter Council recognizes that there are costs involved in ticket refunds and has extensively discussed existing ticket policy.  After consideration of the issues the Council recommends that the MTA Board revise current LIRR ticket validity and refund policies to provide that, once issued, tickets remain valid without expiration and without provision for any refund.  We recognize that procedures to deal with fare increases may be necessary, but it is the position of the LIRRCC that a valid ticket should retain the value of the fare initially paid.
It should be noted that NJ TRANSIT has this policy, “no expiration, no refunds”, and it seems to work well.