The record pandemic-era passenger traffic coincides with the opening of a second Manhattan terminal.

Governor Kathy Hochul announced that the Long Island Railroad has had more than one million paying customers flow in and out of the Grand Central Madison Terminal, which opened to full service on February 27. This milestone was surpassed on Friday, April 7th. Additionally, the LIRR posted several pandemic-era ridership records since Grand Central Madison opened for full service. On Saturday, April 8 and Sunday, April 9, as New Yorkers use public transit over the holiday weekend, railroads hit record weekend ridership during the pandemic — 108,740 passengers traveled on Saturday and 98,030 on Sunday passengers travel. On Tuesday, March 21, 213,026 passengers rode the LIRR, surpassing the pandemic-era record from November 2022.

“Our historic investment in transportation on Long Island makes it easier to connect commuters across the region,” Governor Hochul said. “The millionth passenger passing through Madison Grand Central just a few months after the terminal opened shows just how important this service has become to New Yorkers in a short time.”

LIRR also announced several milestones since the Grand Central Madison opened. In March, the LIRR has sold 358,609 City Tickets — offering off-peak travel within New York City for $5 — a 118.5 percent increase over March last year. The Combo Ticket, an opportunity for customers to purchase discounted fares when traveling the LIRR and Metro-North Railroad on the same trip, was made possible through the opening of Grand Central Madison and has been used by more than 4,000 customers since its launch. As of April 18, 2023, 15,503 LIRR trains have arrived or departed from Grand Central Madison. The MTA’s popular TrainTime app has sold more than 370,000 tickets to and from Madison Grand Central Station.

MTA Chairman and CEO Janno Lieber said, “One million customers is a major milestone in the launch of Grand Central Madison. Since GCM opened, the lives of tens of thousands of New Yorkers have been improved—some through easier connections to world-renowned hospitals, others through the first-ever Reverse Commuter Connection “City dwellers commute to Long Island for work, and others simply save up to 40 minutes a day on their commute. Little by little, Grand Central Madison is fundamentally changing the fabric of New York. “

Catherine Rinaldi, LIRR Interim President and Metro-North Railroad President, said, “The opening of Grand Central Madison’s full service has enabled unprecedented connectivity while also enabling generational growth in service. As we have committed to, we listen to our customers and improve services to better meet their needs. As we After the changes were introduced, we have significantly reduced delays and congestion, and customers are responding by taking trains, a pandemic-era record.”

MTA Acting Chief Client Officer Shanifah Rieara said, “The benefits of Grand Central Madison are clear: shorter commutes for tens of thousands of customers, and greater reach, especially for off-peak and off-peak customers. As we said on day one, it will take time to fine-tune this new terminal, and based on input from LIRR customers, we are doing so by enhancing the schedule and improving wayfinding within the new station. As we look forward to more rides at Grand Central Madison, I encourage customers to continue to share their Feedback, which helps us improve their experience.”

In recent weeks, timetable adjustments and longer trains have been introduced, improving comfort and reliability and boosting punctuality to over 93.5 per cent. The LIRR has carried more than 200,000 passengers for 16 consecutive days since February 27, and the rail line has only crossed that threshold twice in the first 57 days of 2023. During the seven-day period from April 9 to April 15, the LIRR carried an average of 168,726 passengers per day, the best seven-day average since March 2020. The Grand Central Madison had its highest daily traffic on Tuesday, April 11, with approximately 32,060 customers entering and exiting the new Manhattan terminal.

To commemorate the milestone of passing 1 million rides, LIRR welcomed two Madison Central Station customers to the celebration: Ray Ragunauth and Karen Hamilton. Ragunauth, a physical therapist and Long Island resident, was able to pursue new career opportunities on Manhattan’s East Side thanks to the reduced commute time provided by Grand Central Madison. Hamilton, a resident of Laurelton, Queens, who has benefited from more frequent service at Queensboro Station and the opening of the Central Madison Center, often visits NYU Langone Health with her mother.

Chairman of the LIRR Commuter Committee and Chairman of the MTA Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee and member of the MTA Board of Directors Gerald Brinman said, “1,000,000 Grand Central Madison trips is an important milestone for riders and LIRR. In the months since the new LIRR service began, Grand Central Madison has provided tens of thousands of everyday LIRR riders with new travel options and Improvement, they now have direct access and a shorter commute to the Eastside. We’re excited to see the MTA continue to respond to rider feedback with ongoing adjustments, most recently on Monday, April 17th, and we look forward to seeing more Commuters take advantage of the MTA’s new service for months to come. Grand Central Madison is truly a symbol of a more unified and integrated transit system, with rail and subways all under one roof!”

Councilor Charles Lavin said, “This milestone is a reminder of how Central Madison Station can make life easier for Long Islanders seeking to travel to Manhattan’s East Side. The railroad is an essential service, and I will continue to work with my partners at the MTA, who are equally Committed to improving service where needed.”

Suffolk County Executive Steve Veron said, “This is another historic milestone for the MTA as we celebrate more than one million passengers traveling to and from Long Island at Grand Central. Giving Long Islanders access to Grand Central is truly a game changer for our region. Serving millions of people Cheers to Grand Central Terminal, an architectural and transportation gem that drives more customers and success in New York State.”

Southeastern Queens resident Karen Hamilton said, “A few months ago, my mom went to the doctor at 7:30 in the morning and I was able to confidently say ‘accept that appointment’ because I knew we could take a single-seater to Grand Central and the doctor’s office was on 2nd Street and 41st between 3rd and I know you can walk there at a leisurely pace. She can take a single-seater and it’s a short walk to NYU Langone for a doctor’s visit. So, it did change her commuting patterns and her ability to get the care she needs at any given time.”

LIRR client Ray Ragunauth said, “In 2020, my wife and I decided to leave the city for Long Island and buy a house there, but my heart will always belong to the city. Over the past six months, I’ve had the opportunity to start working again with a home on the Upper East Side Hospitals. And once my wife, who already commutes to the Upper East Side, started using Grand Central, her commute was reduced to about 20-30 minutes, and it became a breeze for me to get back to the city, to the city I love.”

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