MTA: Plan to extend validity time of LIRR tickets

LIRR riders wait in lines to purchase their

LIRR riders wait in lines to purchase their train tickets before boarding their rush hour train out of Penn Station in Manhattan. (July 2, 2012) (Credit: Nancy Borowick)

The MTA plans to extend the validity time of Long Island Rail Road tickets in response to complaints from commuters and elected officials, who said tickets expired too quickly.

Officials at a meeting of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's railroad committee Monday announced they will propose to the full board Wednesday a plan to extend to 60 days the life of tickets on the LIRR and Metro-North Railroad.

One-way and round-trip tickets are currently good for 14 days. Customers also would be able to get refunds for 60 days, up from 30.

Ten-trip tickets are to remain good for six months, but also would be refundable for that long. The new policy would take effect Sept. 4.

The extended expiration period was a welcome change for Nicole Reid, of Central Islip.

"Tickets expire and then you lost a lot of money," she said.

LIRR president Helena Williams acknowledged that the new policies have been "extremely unpopular" and "too harsh." LIRR officials said the agency is giving up about $3 million in fare revenue by extending the validity times, but added that it is worth the goodwill with customers.

The plan does not address the $10 fee on all ticket refunds that the LIRR also enacted in January 2011.

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