Plenty of New Yorkers have reason to celebrate because there will now be a new way of connecting from Grand Central and Long Island. It’s ideal for the commuters of the LIRR as it makes life much easier by letting riders change trains at the Jamaica stop in Queens before tranferring over to the line that will allow the commute to shift to Grand Central, the heart of Manhattan. Of course, this is only for now. Pretty soon, there will be direct service towards Grand Central, as said by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The officials of the MTA have been looking forward to this development, ever since Governor Kathy Hochul had made a promise that this would materialize into a real thing! Though it was originally slated for December 2022, the line had since then been postponed towards January of this year.
Originally known as the East Side Access, the $11.1 billion project has been suffering from decades of delays and billions in cost overruns. In fact, construction has been going on as early as 2001. Can you imagine building something for that long and never being able to finish it until much later? Terrifying.
Governor Kathy Hochul had this to say on Twitter.
@GovKathyHochul: “NEWS: Grand Central Madison will officially open to @LIRR starting this Wednesday. Just a 22 minute ride from Jamaica to the East Side of Manhattan! Improving commutes and quality of life for New Yorkers — and with more service starting soon.” 6:01 pm · 23 Jan 2023
Regarding the additional service, commuters from Long Island will end up arriving upon the east side of Manhattan’s midtown. This is better than reaching the Penn Station on the west side as it can save over 160,000 passengers over 40 minutes of commute, all according to the MTA. In such a case, the transit provider is thinking around maybe 45% of LIRR riders are going to arrive at Grand Central, while easing up on crowding at Penn Station.
The project itself is arriving as the MTA looks to bring back ridership for many employees who have lately been more interested in working part-time from home. In such instances, it’s visible that the Weekend LIRR ridership closes in on about 75% of 2019 usage, as compared to 65% weekday ridership all according to MTA data. Come to think of it, the service will be something that will open up New Yorkers to experience Long Island more easily.