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Governor Hochul is calling for more rush hour trains after the bumpy first week of Grand Central Madison service

A tumultuous opening week for Grand Central Madison train service has Gov. Kathy Hochul calling on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to get back on track.

The MTA launched its full Grand Central Madison service early last week, sending trains into the new station on Manhattan’s East Side under Grand Central Terminal. But the transition was far from smooth, with commuters trotting up and down stairs to catch connecting trains and packing into cars for the final legs of their journeys. That ultimately led Hochul on Sunday to order the MTA to change service starting Monday with more rush-hour service to Brooklyn and longer cars serving Penn Station.

“The historic opening of Grand Central Madison marked the first expansion of LIRR service in 1[ads1]00 years, and to ensure the new terminal’s success, we must be responsive to the needs of our commuters,” Hochul said in a statement. “Customers deserve a world-class commuter experience, and that’s what we’re working hard to achieve with these changes. We’re committed to continuing to listen, monitor and make changes to deliver high-quality service, communication and consistency to New Yorkers.”

The move required some trains that used to serve Penn Station of Atlantic Terminal to instead enter the new station, forcing some commuters who used to take direct trains to transfer to Jamaica instead.

Hochul said the Long Island Rail Road would increase rush-hour service to Brooklyn by adding trains throughout the coming week. The target, she said, was an average of nine minutes between trains on Jamaica during the Monday rush hour, with even more frequent service from Tuesday. The governor also said 17 trains entering Penn Station will be extended, along with other cars that exceeded passenger capacity last week.

“Changes made late last week and those scheduled to take effect Monday are data-driven adjustments to reduce wait times and reduce congestion where it occurs,” said Catherine Rinaldi, Long Island Rail Road interim president and president for Metro-North. “We had said we looked at every train and every line to assess where customers were not getting the level of service they and we expect. These changes are steps towards ensuring a better experience going forward, while continuing to run more general service to more NYC terminals than the LIRR has ever done before. We will continue to monitor ridership trends and load conditions and make adjustments as needed.”

Brooklyn riders were asked to check the TrainTime smartphone app for new Jamaica-Atlantic Terminal options.

The governor also directed the MTA to expand its customer service presence to help commuters through the transition.

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