Grand Central Madison terminal, one of the most eagerly anticipated transportation projects of the Big Apple, is celebrating its first year and by all accounts, it has been a great success.
Inaugurated last January as part of the LIRR (Long Island Rail Road) line, the new station was eagerly anticipated as it gave commuters direct access to Manhattan’s East Side, an area that had not been reachable through the railroad line previously. In the past year it has been a catalyst for a 41% increase in service on the LIRR, as reported by transit officials.
The historic project had been years in the making and had even endured various bumps along the road after its service began. At first, the massive overhaul resulted in overcrowded, late trains– specifically at the Jamaica station in Queens, there was much confusion over the adjusted schedules..
Despite these hurdles, the Grand Central Madison stop has been used by more than 17 million riders since its opening last year.
“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, the acting president of the LIRR.
Transit officials reported that the $11 billion terminal at the center of the biggest schedule change in LIRR history has made it substantially more feasible to live on Long Island and work in Manhattan.
“I have a lot of relatives, it’s a great move that they did this,” commented Virgee Kelly, a regular rider of the transit system.
It took about a year of service for the LIRR to meet its goal of seeing 40% of its customers using Grand Central Madison with over 60% still using Penn Station.
“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,” stated Janno Lieber, the chair of the MTA.
“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,” said Lisa Gardner, a regular rider who prefers the commute to Grand Central Madison as opposed to Penn Station.
This one-year milestone marks a significant stamp of progress for the LIRR and the MTA, creating a smoother commute for those on their trips between Long Island and the city.