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Commuter Files Suit Against LIRR Over Lack Of Service

HICKSVILLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- A commuter said he's fed up with paying for service he's not getting on the Long Island Rail Road. So he's suing the railroad on behalf of all commuters.

When Mother Nature barreled through the tri-state with an onslaught of heavy snowstorms, thousands of LIRR riders like Kimon Stathakos were stranded. Now he's suing the railroad to get his money back.

"Think of your cable company. If service goes out for a couple hours you're entitled to call them up and say, look, I've lost service for a couple of hours, can you please credit me and they usually do," Stathakos told CBS 2's Hazel Sanchez.

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Stathakos filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of commuters who invested in LIRR monthly passes this winter, but were unable to ride the train for as many as four days when service was suspended.

If riders choose not to use their monthly pass for the entire month, LIRR has a policy to refund for days the card wasn't used. But if riders don't use their pass because service isn't available due to faulty equipment or bad weather, they're simply out of luck.

"Hopefully they have a policy change and they understand that people should be treated as customers. And when service is out they should at least offer a credit, a pro rate or something else," Stathakos said.

"It's also morally wrong and ethically wrong," one attorney said. "You don't take from people who are your customers when you don't provide the service."

LIRR would not comment on the pending lawsuit. The railroad noted that monthly passes are deeply discounted on average, about 50 percent, and stressed the trains will only run when it's safe to do so.

"They need to give back for all the service interruptions they've had," one female straphanger said.

"I think the LIRR is doing the best they can and if they did give refunds for days that were snow days, they'd probably have to raise rates," a male rider added.

And that would only bring about another storm of controversy.

Last month another commuter attempted to sue the LIRR because of its ticket-refund policy. 

That case was settled out of court in the plaintiff's favor.

Think this guy is on to something? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below.

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