Glitch Hits Monthly LIRR, Metro-North MetroCard Users, Snarls Subway Access

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A glitch created problems Monday for roughly 10,000 commuters heading into New York City, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said.

“Because of a technical problem with the coding for the monthly unlimited MetroCards that are on the back side of the monthly tickets for Long Island Rail Road customers and Metro-North customers, the MetroCard portion is not working at turnstiles or on buses,” Aaron Donovan of the MTA told 1010 WINS.

As CBS2’s Jessica Schneider reported, those commuters who came in on the LIRR and Metro-North got into the city with no problem. But the trouble began the minute they tried to get onto the subway or city buses.

“I’m so angry,” commuter Julia Gonzalez told CBS2’s Scott Rapoport. “I can’t go to work. I’m late.”

“I don’t feel very happy about it,” one commuter told 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa.

“Major hassle,” said another commuter. “It’s always a hassle getting into New York City from Long Island. It really stinks.”

Riders received messages indicating “insufficient fare” as they came into Penn and Grand Central stations and tried to use their dual railroad passes and MetroCards. The glitch impacted some 7,100 LIRR ticket holders and 2,800 Metro-North ticket holders.

“When you went down into the subway, they all read, ‘insufficient fare,’” said Mike Taurisano of Riverdale, the Bronx.

Taurisano takes the Metro-North from his neighborhood, and then gets onto the subway at Grand Central. But he and the others who use the dual card were all victims of the coding error by the New York City Transit Authority, which left the subway side of the cards useless.

The MTA said in a statement: “We recognize this is an inconvenience; we appreciate your patience and apologize for the error.”

The customers were asked to show to show their monthly railroad tickets Monday to bus drivers or subway station agents for entry, WCBS 880’s Monica Miller reported.

Many also waited to get new cards, but the supply eventually ran out.

“We had to go back upstairs to the mail and ride room, wait on line to try and get the MetroCards that they were giving out,” Taurisano said, “and by the time I got there, they ran out of the cards.”

The MTA told commuters to purchase brand new, unlimited 30-day MetroCards on Tuesday if they have not done so already.

Those commuters will not be charged for the defective cards that were sent to them.

The MTA said it would also issue a credit for any additional subway fare the straphangers paid for on Monday. They were invited to apply for reimbursement in person or online.

Still, the frustration was evident.

“I don’t have money,” said Julia Gonzalez, of Brentwood, Long Island. “That’s my problem. My money is in here (the card). And I can’t use it.”

“Nothing surprises me with these guys,” added Jeff Kelly, of Franklin Square, Long Island. “Am I angry? Sure.”

Though it was hassle for many, the monthly charge for the defective cards was not set to deduct from commuter’s accounts until Wednesday, so those affected by the issue will not be billed for the defective card, the MTA said.

They instead only had to pay for the new cards in person to use for the remainder of the month, the MTA told CBS2.

You may also be interested in these stories: 

More From CBS New York

CELEBRATING 50 YEARS
Get Our Morning Briefs

Watch & Listen LIVE