Fairness in fares
I learned, almost the hard way, that if the ticket machine isn’t working at your Metro-North stop, you still have to pay the on-board penalty of about $6 per ride. But the railroad has a way to pay you back.
Here’s the thing: About a week ago (Sun., Nov. 1), I was riding the train out of Larchmont for Grand Central Terminal with a friend and co-worker, Stacy Anderson. The ticket machines at the station weren’t working, so Stacy was unable to buy a ticket.
Yet, when we boarded the train, the conductor told us he had to charge the full fare, with the penalty. He was not able to waive the extra fare.
Fortunately, I had a 10-ride pass, so I asked the conductor to punch out another ride on that.
If I hadn’t been there, Stacy would have had to pay $13 for the one-way trip. That’s $7.25 for the ride and $5.75 for the penalty.
I asked railroad spokeswoman Marjorie Anders about this, and she told me that if you pay the on-board penalty when broken ticket machines prevented you from buying at the station, you are entitled to a refund. You can call the customer service line, 212-672-1290, and tell them what train you were on. Representatives can check remotely to see if the machines are working.
If the machines are indeed broken, the representative can send out the reimbursement.
Now, Stacy was a little unsatisfied with that solution. She thought the conductor shouldn’t charge in the first place. But that’s the way it’s done.
By the way, the on-board penalty varies depending on the base fare. The penalty can be anywhere from $5.75 to $6.50, which ever gets the fare closest to a full dollar amount.