By Philip Newman
Long Island Rail Road riders will be paying an average of 25 percent more as of May Day, but Metropolitan Transportation Authority chief Peter Kalikow says there are ways to soften the blow.
“With the new pricing structure in place, we want our customers to know about the most cost-effective and economical ways for them to purchase their Long Island Rail Road tickets,” Kalikow said.
It was the MTA’s decision to raise LIRR fares along with a hike on tickets for the Metro-North Commuter Railroad, a $2 bus and subway fare in New York city and toll raises on bridges and tunnels. The MTA said a nearly $1 billion budget gap left it no choice.
The LIRR is promoting its Mail&Ride program in which customers get a 2 percent discount. Commuters get tickets mailed to their homes
Those who choose the unlimited MetroCard option along with their monthly ticket will get a 9 percent discount on their LIRR monthly ticket.
Ten Trip Off Peak tickets will be sold at a discount of up to 15 percent. They have been available at a 10 percent discount when compared to the purchase of 10 off-peak, one-way tickets. Such tickets can be used by more than one customer at a time.
The Seniors and People with Disabilities Ten Trip Ticket is also a new feature of the post-May 1 era at LIRR. It gives those 65 and riders with disabilities the convenience of buying one ticket rather than 10 separate tickets. Such fares are not good on westbound AM peak trains.
The LIRR cautioned against buying tickets onboard trains since they will bring a penalty of $2.75 to $3.50 per ticket. The penalties kick in if ticket machines are available or the ticket office at the passenger’s boarding station is open one half hour before the rider’s scheduled departure,.
The onboard fare purchase penalty does not apply to seniors, the disabled or Medicare customers.
LIRR’s “forgotten ticket” policy has been abolished. It used to mean that a customer who could not produce his or her monthly commuting ticket was excused payment. Under the new policy anyone who forgets a ticket will have to pay the higher on-board fare and will not be entitled to a refund for the additional fare.
A few samples of the new fares for monthly tickets to Penn Station: Forest Hills $123, Kew Gardens $123, Jamaica, Bayside, Little Neck, St. Albans, Flushing and Locust Manor all $146.
Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 136.