From the Elmont-Franklin Square Herald, a Richner Communications Newspaper
By Jackie Nash
Sen. Jack Martins (R-Elmont) introduced a bill last week to repeal a recently implemented policy by the Metropolitan Transit Authority that charges customers a $10 processing fee for returning unused Long Island Rail Road tickets. Martins said he introduced the legislation because he believes the fee is an unfair addition to the MTA’s already inconvenient fare increases and service cuts that have occurred over the past year.
“To put in a processing fee just to return a ticket is arrogant at best,” he said. “This legislation repeals the processing fee, which should never have been instituted.” Martins explained that in many cases, the processing fee for returning a ticket is greater than the value of the ticket. He added that he has received several complaints from residents about the $10 processing fee, which was implemented by the MTA on Dec. 30. Additionally, the policy invalidates unused one-way and round-trip tickets after two weeks of the purchase date. For a full refund, any unused tickets must be returned within 30 days of the purchase date.
Martins’ legislation, S.3778, would force the MTA to issue a full reimbursement for unused tickets, and give the purchaser six months from the date of the purchase to return the unused ticket.
Martins said he was alerted about the processing fee by a constituent who purchased a the Long Island Rail Road ticket for a ride home to New Hyde Park for $7.25, and decided to return the ticket when she received a ride home instead. When the constituent went to return the ticket, she found out that it would cost her $2.75 to return it, for a net loss of $10.
“I am appalled that there is a processing fee to return a ticket. Customers who purchase a ticket but don’t use the service should be able to get a refund on their money,” Martins said.
Scott Cushing, Martins’ executive assistant, said the MTA instituted the fee due to budget problems. “The MTA treats people in Nassau County like an ATM,” Cushing said. “Not everybody uses the train every day. Therefore, there are times when people buy a ticket to go to a destination, and at the last minute do not go. The MTA shouldn’t be able to host this modern-day train robbery of taxpayers.”
S.3778 has been referred to the Senate’s Transportation Committee.