The Long Island Rail Road on Wednesday extended its ticket-refund policy by two years, allowing customers a lot more time to get back money for never-taken trips.
LIRR tickets previously had been refundable only up to six months after their purchase, depending on the type of ticket.
The full Metropolitan Transportation Authority board voted to approve the refund plan Wednesday at its Manhattan meeting. On Monday, the MTA’s LIRR Committee had greenlit the proposal.
The change reflects an amendment made in December to the state’s Public Authorities Law, giving “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 lacks the ability to transfer value from one ticket to another — unlike with a MetroCard — the railroad is seeking to comply with the law in extending the period in which customers can obtain refunds for unused tickets.
The new 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.
However, one-way and special promotional tickets, including Getaways and the CityTicket, previously could be refunded for up to 60 days, and Ten-Trip tickets were refundable for six months.
Time-based LIRR tickets, including weekly and monthly tickets, will be unaffected by the new policy, as they can be refunded only during the period they are valid.
The LIRR charges a processing fee of $10 for every refund, even if the ticket cost less than $10.
The LIRR said it does not know what impact the new policy will have on revenue, in part because it doesn’t know how many tickets sold go unused. But the railroad said in its proposal that the impact “is expected to be minimal.”