LIRR Sees A Rise In Cashless Riders

For regular Long Island Rail Road riders, it is known that the best way to ride is to buy your tickets in advance. When you don’t & have to buy them on the train, you pay an even more inflated cost for a service that is already priced too high. However let me not digress into that rant.

When the summer comes around, the LIRR sees a spike in ridership which mainly comes from those who are not regulars or completely unfamiliar to the ticket policies. This mainly takes place with young riders going to & from the Hamptons. Some stations out east such as Amagansett which does not even contain a ticket machine. So it is imperative that tickets are purchased in advance.

Unfortunately this message has not reached a number of riders as the LIRR has seen an increase in cashless riders. Andrew Grossman of the Wall Street Journal has more:

There are no ticket vending machines in Amagansett’s tiny train station. And there are no credit cards accepted on Long Island Rail Road trains.

Renee Osgood, 24 years old, learned these two things the hard way Monday morning. She barely made the 5:58 to get back to New York City, and once aboard, she discovered she only had $14 on her—$9 less than she needed.

Ms. Osgood is part of what Long Island Rail Road officials say is a growing trend of debit- and credit-card-reliant young people who get on trains from the Hamptons without cash and without prepaid tickets.

They’re creating hassles for conductors, who have to take down the names and addresses of ticketless passengers and give them invoices.

Passengers who ignore the invoices—which say “THIS IS A BILL” in bold letters at the bottom—just keep getting notices in the mail.

There are a growing number of cashless passengers riding the LIRR, spokesman Joe Calderone said, but the agency had no specific data beyond anecdotal evidence from conductors.

The problem is especially pronounced on the East End, where the railroad often carries people who don’t ride the system regularly and some stations don’t have ticket machines, which accept credit and debit cards.

The railroad doesn’t have any immediate plans to start accepting credit cards on trains.

But the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is studying a systemwide overhaul of the way it collects fares. It’s testing a system that allows riders to tap a transponder-equipped device on a reader at subway turnstiles, automatically deducting money from the user’s bank account.

Click here for the complete report.

This is an issue that the LIRR should not be dealing with. In today’s day & age, it is inexcusable that they have not implemented the means for a conductor to accept credit/debit card payments. Other systems have been able to implement such basic needs yet the most important system in the world can’t.

This is a fine example of the need for the MTA to catch up with technology if they ever expect to maximize the effectiveness of its overall system or better yet achieve the dream by MTA CEO & Board Chairman Jay H. Walder.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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