LIRR riders still upset about Jamaica transfer after MTA schedule adjustments for Grand Central Madison

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority adjusted Long Island Rail Road schedules and added more cars to some trains on Monday, a week after the launch of full service at Grand Central Madison brought new schedules that enraged riders.

But the changes weren’t enough for some Long Islanders who said they were upset about moving to Jamaica Terminal in Queens for a commute that used to offer a one-seat ride to or from Penn Station in Manhattan.

“I don’t know a person who isn’t affected by the timetable,” said LIRR commuter Maya Charland at the Jamaica Terminal Monday night. “I haven’t heard one person say, ‘Hey, that’s better.’

MTA officials heralded the launch of full service at Grand Central Madison as a 40% weekday service increase 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 Manhattan̵[ads1]7;s East Side.

In the struggle to make a transfer in Jamaica on Monday night, a woman fell down a flight of stairs. She declined to give her name – but said she missed the connection and had to wait another 40 minutes at the Queens terminal.

MTA officials said they have begun holding trains at Jamaica to make connections easier — and noted that they have deployed dozens of employees to help riders through the changes.

“Trains were less crowded this morning, passenger flow at Jamaica was much better due in part to Penn and Grand Central trains entering nearby platforms for easier transfers, and many trains that had been more crowded last week received more cars,” said Catherine Rinaldi, interim Long Island Rail Road president and president of Metro-North.[Gov. Kathy Hochul] challenged us to deliver the kind of service our customers want and deserve, and we are making progress with an improved service plan.”

MTA officials said Monday that the longer trains would help reduce crowding on the LIRR, noting that the changes cut peak trips from 12 to eight minutes on trains traveling to or from Atlantic Terminal, where riders saw the biggest cuts from 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 timetables have taken away her single-seater journey and that the extra train did not solve the problem.

“They haven’t done anything for the people of Brooklyn,” she said. “We can handle the proximity. We are over it. But the lack of service, the lack of times, the lack of connections…. It’s 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 switched 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 connect to Jamaica, but he now gets to ride a cozy LIRR train to the MTA’s shiny new terminal.

“For anyone who has lost faith in government’s ability to do good, the new LIRR station at Grand Central is fabulous,” Parker said. “I have to change, and it’s uncomfortable, but then I’m close to my job – and I don’t have to take the subway.”

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