The MTA Board voted this afternoon to approve some form of ticket credit for riders of Metro-North’s New Haven Line who hold weekly or monthly tickets valid during the current power outage. The railroad has not yet determined how the credit will be structured or when it will be available, but the agency plans to release further information later this week. All in all, the credit is expected to cost the MTA approximately $2 million per week in lost revenue, and it is likely that the agency will seek to recoup costs from Con Edison.
“Because of the unprecedented magnitude and duration of this disruption, the MTA Board has concluded that a credit for our customers is simply the right thing to do,” MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas Prendergast said in a statement. “I want to thank my fellow board members for taking swift action to address this situation while we work to support Con Edison in restoring full power to the line.”
Metro-North, meanwhile, is adding five more peak-hour trains tomorrow, bringing service back to about 65 percent of normal. In my view, that means any credit for tomorrow should top out at 35 percent of the pro-rated value of a ticket. During a press conference this afternoon, MTA officials cautioned that the refund should not set a precedent for future service disruptions, and some board members rightly argued that Metrocard holders should have received a similar credit for Sandy-related outages last year. In the poll I conducted earlier today, those voting for some form of refund eked out a 51-49 win over those voting against any refund.
Meanwhile, for those wondering what to do with their newfound riches sure to total ones or perhaps tens of dollars, why not check out the new Shake Shack in Grand Central Terminal which is opening on Saturday? The burger joint replaces Zocalo and will be forking over rent of around half a million per year for the next ten years with the MTA owed 8 percent of gross sales over a certain threshold amount.