LIRR Billing Issue Strikes Again!

Last October, I wrote about a huge billing snafu that occurred when the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) doubled billed approximately 2000 individuals who purchased tickets at a ticket machine with a credit or debit card. Unfortunately another huge billing snafu took place 6 days ago as once again thousands of customers were at the risk of or were charged for tickets they did not purchase. Steve Ritea of Newsday has more in this report:

For the third time since October, the Long Island Rail Road has improperly charged customers for tickets they didn’t buy, officials said yesterday, with fewer than 22,800 customers affected by the current mistake.

LIRR spokesman Joe Calderone said a worker testing a computer software upgrade Friday mistakenly sent a file with credit and debit card information for 22,800 riders to an outside firm that charges the cards. Not all were charged, but Calderone said the LIRR had not yet determined how many were.

After complaints over the weekend, the LIRR began reversing all of the charges yesterday, he said.

“Unbelievable,” said Gerard Bringmann, president of the LIRR Commuters’ Council. “I mean, yeah, it could happen once, even twice, but a third time? … Heads should roll.”

“This is inexcusable and we intend to get to the bottom of it,” said LIRR president Helena Williams. She has suspended testing of software upgrades until the problem is identified.

To try to curry good will among the frustrated, Calderone said the LIRR will honor May monthly passes during today’s morning rush hour for customers who tell conductors they were affected by the problem.

In October, a software glitch caused roughly 20,000 riders who used debit or credit cards to be double-billed. The LIRR quickly reversed the charges and fixed the computer problem.

Then in late November, 423 transactions were processed through the LIRR computer system though no tickets were issued. A railroad manager made a computer error that caused the problem, officials said. They said the file would be “locked” to protect against it happening again.

Calderone said the latest error was caused during a software upgrade, whereas the November incident happened during normal operations. The November fix was unrelated to the part of the system where the latest problem occurred, he said.

“While these were three separate and unrelated episodes, the LIRR understands our customers’ frustrations and is doing everything it can to prevent a recurrence by upgrading our hardware and software capabilities,” Calderone said.

For more information, customers can call 1-877-547-7876.

Now that I am dealing with the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) again, I need to remind myself not to use my card unless absolutely necessary!

xoxo Transit Blogger

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