LIRR Rider Fed Up About Ticket Fees

By Tom Llamas
|  Friday, Feb 25, 2011  |  Updated 1:52 AM EDT
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Rider: I'm Railroaded by the LIRR

NBCNewYork

LIRR service is expected to be back to normal by the evening rush, but expect delays anyway.

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Rider: I'm Railroaded by the LIRR

Man fights mandatory $10 ticket refund free.
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Long Island resident Chris Ebel feels he's being railroaded by the LIRR -- he's upset over a mandatory $10 processing fee for ticket refunds, a policy that's not clearly advertised.

"I feel they're picking my pockets," Ebel said.

The MTA instituted the $10 refund fee this year to help fill budget gaps; the same fee applies for Metro North tickets. There is no fee for subway Metrocard refunds or for New Jersey Transit.

Even though Ebel's problems with the LIRR amount to a few dollars, he has hired a lawyer because he says he's sick of being nickel-and-dimed by the MTA. And he says many tickets are printed without the information.

"This is a LIRR ticket, which is a contract.  Anyone who purchases a ticket enters into a contract with the railroad," says attorney Ken Mollins.  "The highest court in the state has said if in the contract there's something illegible or blocked it's unenforceable."

The  MTA sent Ebel and his attorney a letter stating it regrets the printing error. But state law allows the MTA to impose the $10 dollar refund fee even if the ticket costs $2.50.

Some riders call the LIRR new policy a rip off.

"I think a $10 processing fee is a little exorbitant for something that is a piece of paper. It's insane," said LIRR rider Mike Devonshire.

"It's really not fair, 'cause you end up paying more for the ticket. The ticket is less than what you are getting," rider Yonette Claire said.

The MTA said it is working on fixing the printing error and sometimes waives the processing fee on a case-by-case basis. 

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