Home Metro-North Quick Poll: The New Haven Line refund question

Quick Poll: The New Haven Line refund question

by Benjamin Kabak

Later this afternoon, the MTA Board will host an emergency meeting to consider the question of refunds for New Haven Line Metro-North riders. The move comes after Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy called upon the MTA to expedite a refund process for riders facing slower and less frequent service as Con Ed continues to repair the damaged feeder cable. With repairs unlikely to wrap before next week, regular riders will have suffered through nearly two weeks of delays.

“Approving a refund to commuters isn’t just the right thing to do,” Mallooy said in a statement yesterday, “it’s what they need to do. It’s incumbent on the MTA and ConEd to deal with this problem and get it fixed, and it’s critical that Connecticut residents get reimbursed as quickly as possible.”

So here’s my question: Is it the right thing to do? Is it that important? I keep thinking back to similar calls in the aftermath of Sandy when subway service was not just slightly worse but shut down completely for days. Metrocard users received no such refund or time extension. Why is Metro-North any different?

On the one hand, it’s far easier to process Metro-North refunds. Cards run for full calendar months or weeks, and the MTA can easily add more time. Plus, this was not an act of nature; in fact, it sounds as though Con Ed will carry the blame for the incident. The MTA should get reimbursed for any unplanned expenses incurred during the outage, making a refund as easy as spending someone else’s money.

That said, New Haven Line service hasn’t been non-existent in the intervening week and a half. Trains have run; the Harlem Line has cross-honored fares. The MTA is doing what it can to ease travel woes, and if Metrocard users couldn’t get refunds during Sandy when insurance would have covered some of the costs, why should suburban riders now?

We’ll know more at around 4 p.m. when MTA officials address the media, but I’m curious to see the results of this poll.

Should New Haven Line passholders receive a refund?
View Results

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Spiderpig October 1, 2013 - 1:56 pm

I voted Yes, but I would refund half of the cost per day, since the New Haven Line is still providing service at some rate, including emergency bus connections in the first four days. For instance, on September monthly, 1/10 of the cost (at 1/60 per day of interruption). Therefore, people who used the trains didn’t ride for free and people who didn’t still get money back. Of course, as you noted, it should be Con Ed footing the bill.

Phillip Roncoroni October 1, 2013 - 2:44 pm

Unless Con Ed is footing the bill, no.

AlexB October 1, 2013 - 3:24 pm

I voted no based on the fact that I can’t think of a time when I’ve ever gotten a refund for something like this. I feel like the price you pay allows you to enter the system, in whatever state that may be, not to a specified level of service. And Metro North was offering service. If the MTA takes portions of its system offline for repairs, they don’t pro-rate your metro card payment for that month. Now, a part of me thinks that we’d all be better off if there were a direct relationship between service levels and price, but until that point – no refund

Adirondacker12800 October 1, 2013 - 3:38 pm

I agree. The ticket is for passage, whatever state that passage may be in. Including things like having to stand all the way between NY and DC back when there were unreserved trains between the two.

Russell October 1, 2013 - 3:36 pm

I would say both weekly and monthly riders, but that’s not an option in the poll – so I just voted for monthly riders.

Benjamin Kabak October 1, 2013 - 3:41 pm

My fault. The wording was unclear. “All Riders” should have said “all passholders.”

Andrew October 1, 2013 - 10:32 pm

Why not individual ticketholders? Single tickets expire after 60 days and are subject to a $10 refund fee – and somebody who bought a ticket but was unable to use it as planned may not have any use for it again within 60 days.

At the very least, I’d want to see a waiver of the refund fee for single tickets purchased in the 60-day period leading up to the outage (once the outage started, I think it’s reasonable to assume that anybody buying a ticket was aware of the situation).

But any refunds should have been contingent on an offer of full reimbursement by Con Ed.

Alon Levy October 2, 2013 - 4:34 pm

They can just extend the validity period.

Andrew October 10, 2013 - 7:58 pm

That’s fine for people who postponed their trips. Not as useful for people who canceled them entirely or found other ways to make them, and no longer have any use for the New Haven line.

Bolwerk October 1, 2013 - 3:38 pm

No refunds, but I don’t see anything wrong with crediting them the days they lost if that’s feasible. This isn’t an act of God, like Sandy.

Patrick @ The LIRR Today October 1, 2013 - 3:50 pm

Commutation tickets are already heavily discounted…buy full fare round trips each day if you don’t want to get ‘cheated’ out’ during a service disruption (you’ll end up paying almost twice as much…)

Plus it clearly states in the MNCR tariff policy that the appropriate fares are to be collected at all times, including during service disruptions.

Larry Littlefield October 1, 2013 - 3:51 pm

I’m just tired of this idea that entitled kvetchers are entitled to everything, and no one else is entitled to anything.

How about refunding the state income taxes of city residents for all past the decades city schools were vastly inferior in part because the rest of the state screwed the city out of a fair share of school aid? And all the future property taxes for all the years the schools will be inferior because of all the retroactive pension enhancements?

asar October 1, 2013 - 4:24 pm

Only weekly riders should get refunds because these people r the people who ride the metro north frequently everyday, and deserve refunds to commute to work every mon.-fri.

Corey Best October 2, 2013 - 6:06 am

They had Alts Bee line and CT buses feed into key Rail stops like Fordham or White Plains its not like the 95 corridor isn’t well covered. So they don’t deserve refunds…


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