The Metropolitan Transportation Authority adjusted the Long Island Rail Road’s schedules, adding more cars to some trains Monday, a week after the full schedule at Grand Central Madison produced new schedules that infuriated passengers.
But the changes weren’t enough for some Long Islanders who said they were upset about switching at Queens’ Jamaica Terminal for a commute that used to offer a single-seat ride to or from Manhattan’s Penn Station.
“I don’t know one person who isn’t affected by the schedule,” LIRR commuter Maya Charland said Monday night at Jamaica Terminal. “I haven’t heard one person say, ‘Hey, it’s better.’”
MTA officials announced the launch of full service in Grand Central Madison as a 40% weekday service boost for the LIRR. But the change also moved dozens of trains that used to run to or from Penn Station to the new terminal on Manhattan’s East Side.
In the race to make a transfer to Jamaica, a woman fell down a flight of stairs on Monday night. She declined to give her name, saying she missed her connection and would have to wait another 40 minutes at the Queens terminal.
MTA officials said they have started holding trains in Jamaica to make connections easier – noting that they have deployed dozens of employees to help passengers through the changes.
“There was less crowding on the trains this morning, passenger flow in Jamaica was much better, in part because Penn and Grand Central trains came in at nearby platforms for easier transfers, and many trains that were busier last week got extra cars,” said Catherine Rinaldi, interim president of Long Island Rail Road and president of Metro-North. “[Gov. Kathy Hochul] challenged us to deliver the kind of service our customers want and deserve and we are moving forward with an improved service plan.”
MTA officials said Monday the longer trains would help ease congestion on the LIRR, noting that the changes reduced peak time from 12 to eight minutes on trains traveling to or from Atlantic Terminal, where riders saw the biggest cuts of all. last week’s changes.
LIRR rider Bridget — who declined to give her last name because she works for the city’s education department — commutes between Atlantic Terminal and Rockville Center on Long Island every day. She said the new schedules have taken away her one-seat ride and the extra train hasn’t solved the problem.
“They’ve done nothing for the people of Brooklyn,” she said. “We can deal with the proximity. We’re over it. But the lack of service, the lack of times, the lack of connections…. It is not surprising.”
MTA officials said about 34% of LIRR riders traveled to Grand Central Madison Monday morning, up from an average of about 30% last week.
One of those riders who transferred to the new terminal was Allen Parker, who commutes from Glen Cove on Long Island. He works on Manhattan’s East Side and has to transfer to Jamaica, but now he gets to ride a cozy LIRR train to the MTA’s shiny new terminal.
“For anyone who has lost faith in the government’s ability to do good, the new LIRR station in Grand Central is fantastic,” Parker said. “I have to change and that’s unpleasant, but then I’m close to my work – and I don’t have to travel on the subway.”
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