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MTA: No MetroCard Refunds For Superstorm Sandy Service Outages

Metro-North, LIRR Riders Getting A Break, But City Subway Riders Will Not
MetroCard (credit: Evan Bindelglass / CBSNewYork)

MetroCard (file/credit: Evan Bindelglass /CBSNewYork)

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Superstorm Sandy

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Superstorm Sandy not only knocked out bus and subway service, it’s going to knock a hole in commuters’ pocketbooks.

They’re not even going to get a token apology from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority for service outages due to the hurricane. Riders who had purchased 30-day or seven-day MetroCards before the storm will not be getting refunds, the agency said Tuesday.

“That’s outrageous! How could they not if … when people don’t have options…I wasn’t really thinking about it to tell you the truth. I was just so freaked out about the storm. I wasn’t thinking about it, but I think that’s really unfair,” Manhattan commuter Karen Gormandy told CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.

Rider outrage aside, MTA officials told CBS 2 it would be a logistical nightmare to determine how many rides to reimburse people for since bus and subway service came up at different times at different locations and some service is still not 100 percent.

“It was kind of difficult to actually travel because it’s outside in stuff. So actually coming here and actually having to take the train was kind of difficult,” commuter Shawn Wilder said.

“It wasn’t working up where I was and then when the 1 came back, it was just incredibly overcrowded. So I just didn’t go to work,” Gormandy added.

The MTA said there is precedent for not reimbursing riders for unlimited cards, which cost $104 for a 30-day pass and $29 for a seven-day pass. The agency didn’t reimburse riders for lost service during Hurricane Irene last year or during the 2005 transit strike when service was down for three days.

There were no refunds, but unlimited ride MetroCards were extended by three days because service was down for that long.

“I have a lot of sympathy for the many riders who bought seven-day and 30-day passes before the storm and weren’t able to use them while the subway system was in such bad shape,” said Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers Campaign.

“I wished I could think of a fair or easy way to do it, but I don’t [have one]. I think that’s a problem that the agency has. I don’t think there’s a fair way to do it.”

Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road commuters are faring much better. The MTA extended their monthly passes by five days.  Meanwhile, because the MTA has insurance, it expects to be reimbursed for lost revenue on all its lines.

It doesn’t sound too fair, does it? Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below …