At 11:05 on 2 January 2011, an email was received by subscribers to the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority's Long Island Railroad alerts system stating that no credit or debit card purchases could be used. The full text of the message follows:
Ticket Machines at all LIRR stations are not accepting credit or debit for ticket purchases due to a problem with Sprint communication lines. Please purchase your tickets using cash, while the LIRR works to find a solution.
The problem was reported as corrected at 14:39, according to a later MTA-LIRR message.
Needless to say, for many travelers highly dependent upon rail services in the area, this was not a minor inconvenience. (For curious readers unfamiliar with this area, a round trip off-peak ticket from SUNY Stony Brook to Manhattan costs $23.50. That's 106 miles by car, or $108.12 at January 2011 GSA mileage reimbursement rates.)