MTA celebrates 1-year of LIRR service at Grand Central Madison in New York City

ByAnthony Carlo, Eyewitness News WABC logo
Monday, January 29, 2024
Commuters, MTA celebrate 1-year anniversary of Grand Central Madison service
Anthony Carlo has the story.

MIDTOWN (WABC) -- Tuesday marked one year since the MTA opened Grand Central Madison, giving Long Island Rail Road riders direct access to Manhattan's east side.

The historic project was years in the making and even had several bumps in the road after service began.

It was up to the MTA and LIRR to get it right. A trumpet solo helped celebrate the occasion.

For Saida Hatun, it's the sound of a smoother commute.

"Way more, and the quality of my life has changed," she said.

She's one of the more than 17 million riders who have used Grand Central Madison since it opened last January.

Transit officials say, it's the catalyst for a 41% increase in service on the LIRR.

"New York City and Long Island are dependent on each other. New York City provides paying jobs and Long Island provides a vast labor pool. Grand Central Madison strengthens that bond," said Rob Free, Long Island Rail Road, acting president.

"I have a lot of relatives, it's a great move they did this," said Virgee Kelly, a rider.

Transit officials say the $11 billion terminal at the center of the biggest schedule change in LIRR history has made it more viable to live on Long Island and work in Manhattan.

But things didn't necessarily start off on the right track. Remember this chaos? The massive overhaul resulting in overcrowded, late trains. At Jamaica Station specifically, there was confusion over new schedules. Kelly says we've come a long way.

"Just continue where we are, progression is always good," Kelly said.

It took just about a year for the LIRR to meet its initial goal, seeing 40% percent of its customers using Grand Central Madison over 60% still using Penn Station. They saw it happen one day just last week.

Though it's been a slow tick up, transit officials say it's progress nonetheless.

"For the first time we have enough capacity to send trains out to Long Island in the morning, and that means that Long Island businesses can recruit the entire region. That is transformative for Long Island's economy," said Janno Lieber, MTA Chair.

Rider Lisa Gardner raved about a spotless commute at Grand Central Madison as opposed to Penn Station. But says she doesn't want to speak too soon.

"I just hope they keep all the train lines because I think some of them are not as crowded as they might want them to be, I hope there doesn't have to be service changes," Gardner said.

After all, it's not so often you hear New Yorkers' commutes have gotten better.

ALSO READ | MTA eyeing 6-week shutdown for G train this summer

FILE- The G subway train enters the elevated Smith-Ninth Streets station in the Brooklyn borough of New York.
AP Photo/Mark Lennihan


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