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LIRR extends ticket refund period by two years

Long Island Rail Road passengers purchase tickets at

Long Island Rail Road passengers purchase tickets at Penn Station in Manhattan on Jan. 25, 2017. Credit: Charles Eckert

You soon will have a lot more time to get your money back for that Long Island Rail Road ticket you never used.

The LIRR has extended its current ticket-refund policy by an additional two years. LIRR tickets had been refundable only up to six months after they are purchased, depending on the type of ticket.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s LIRR Committee approved the proposal Monday morning, and the full MTA Board voted to approve the plan Wednesday.

The change reflects an amendment made in December to the state’s Public Authorities Law, which gives “any person who purchases a fare the ability to transfer any remaining balance for two years after such fare is deemed expired.”

Because the LIRR does not have the ability to transfer value from one ticket to another — unlike with a MetroCard — the railroad is looking to comply with the law by extending the period in which customers can get refunds for unused tickets.

One-way and special promotional tickets, including Getaways and the CityTicket, previously could be refunded for up to 60 days, and Ten-Trip tickets refundable for six months.

Time-based LIRR tickets, including weekly and monthly tickets, will be unaffected by the new policy, as they only can be refunded during the period that they are valid.

The LIRR charges a processing fee of $10 for every refund, even if the cost of the ticket is less than $10.

The new refund policy does not address electronic tickets purchased through the MTA eTix mobile app. The railroad said it’s looking into creating a “self-service refund” feature on the app for unused electronic tickets.

The LIRR said it does not know what impact the new policy will have on revenue, in part because the agency doesn’t know how many tickets sold go unused. But, the railroad said in its proposal, the impact “is expected to be minimal.”

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