More Than 17 Million Riders Have Used Grand Central Madison
1.2 Million City Tickets Sold to/from Grand Central Madison, 81,444 Combo Tickets Sold
Café/Bar Expected to Open in 2024
96 Percent Customer Satisfaction Rating
Governor Kathy Hochul and officials from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority today celebrated the upcoming one-year anniversary of the MTA’s historic opening of Grand Central Madison, which introduced new commuting opportunities on the Long Island Rail Road and enhanced New York’s regional connectivity.
“The opening of Grand Central Madison marked a new beginning of travel and regional connectivity,” Governor Hochul said. “It has delivered significant benefits to the tens of thousands of New Yorkers who rely on it every day, and shows the importance of continuing to expand transit throughout the region.”
The terminal’s doors were officially opened to the public for the first time on Thursday, January 25, 2023, with train service operating between Jamaica Station and the terminal. Full-service schedules, introducing a 41 percent systemwide service increase were implemented on February 27. Since opening, the terminal has been the origin or destination of 17.1 million trips and currently 289 trains operate daily during the week. The percentage of ridership between Grand Central Madison and Penn Station continues to steadily grow to the projected split, reaching a rush hour 60 percent/40 percent split last Thursday morning, January 19, with 34,117 customers traveling to Penn Station and 22,351 traveling to Grand Central Madison.
Since implementation of full service in February, the LIRR sold 44,573 Combo Tickets in 2023 and Metro-North sold 36,871, for a combined total of 81,444 tickets, indicating growing familiarity and use of interregional travel via mass transit. The discounted City Ticket for travel within New York City was expanded to peak hours in July 2023, and 1.2 million have been sold to/from Grand Central Madison since it opened.
MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber said, “It’s worth celebrating how Grand Central Madison has shortened commutes for millions and enabled a dramatic 41 percent LIRR service increase, including first-time robust reverse commuting options that have connected City residents to jobs on the island and allowed Long Island businesses to recruit talent from the entire region. We are grateful to have had the unwavering support of Governor Hochul, who recognized Grand Central Madison’s benefits from Day One of her administration.”
MTA Long Island Rail Road Acting President Rob Free said, "Grand Central Madison not only delivered the largest service increase in LIRR history but it also strengthened the network’s resiliency with a second terminal in Manhattan, providing customers reliable, alternate options to and from the City. The new service options even created opportunities for intra-island travel. With more frequent service, customers can take advantage of discovering more of Long Island by train. We are proud of the progress we have made and of the LIRR staff that have been part of this monumental journey. This is just the beginning, and we look forward to millions of more riders traveling through Grand Central Madison."
MTA Metro-North Railroad President Catherine Rinaldi said, “It was an honor to lead the LIRR team when this impressive terminal was opened and to have been part of the historic milestone for the LIRR and New York region. For the first time, the LIRR, Metro-North, and the subway are all under one roof – and just a few steps outside, there is access to ten bus routes. With more than 80,000 Combo Tickets sold, it is clear that LIRR and Metro-North customers are taking advantage of this new service to connect to new experiences across our region.”
Increased Resiliency to Manhattan
Having a second terminal creates a more robust and adaptable LIRR network. It provides passengers with an alternate way of reaching their destinations more reliably in the event of a service disruption impacting Penn Station service. Similarly, it supports maintenance and state-of good-repair work while minimizing impact to customers. Just this past December, weekend work in West Side Yard, the largest train yard located west of Penn Station, required a few tracks to be taken out of service to install new switches. The LIRR was able to preserve service into Manhattan by diverting trains to Grand Central Madison while the work was underway.
Enhancements Since Opening
Schedules have been strategically adjusted based on customer feedback and ridership data while balancing operational elements to ensure service reliability. In the terminal itself, escalator operations have been modified to provide additional capacity going up in the mornings, often having all but one escalator per escalator bank, operate upwards to the mezzanine.
Based on last year’s biannual Customers Count Survey in the spring, 96 percent of Grand Central Madison customers said they were satisfied or very satisfied with the terminal, the highest rating of any station or terminal across the LIRR. However, to improve the passenger experience, additional wayfinding signs were installed to make the concourse easier to navigate, and, in November, cellular service was activated in Grand Central Madison tunnels, supplementing the existing cellular and Wi-Fi network in the station, providing a more convenient and enjoyable commute. Digital screens were also installed in Grand Central Madison with Metro-North departures, and screens in Grand Central Terminal were installed with LIRR departures.
Currently, the MTA is reviewing proposals for a café/bar across the ticket offices in Grand Central Madison, with an expected opening date later this year.
A Transformed Long Island Rail Road
Leading up to the opening of Grand Central Madison, the LIRR completed other major projects that modernized transportation on Long Island with state-of-the-art rail system such as the $2.5 billion Main Line Expansion Project, the $478 million project to add a second track to the Ronkonkoma Branch east of Farmingdale, the $150 million 17 Station Enhanced Station Initiative project, and the $77 million Hicksville Station Rehabilitation project. This multibillion-dollar investment, paired with the modernization of Harold interlocking – the busiest interlocking in the country – improved operational efficiency, increased track capacity to run an additional 289 daily trains, and renovated dozens of stations with new amenities and accessibility enhancements, creating a more comfortable passenger experience and reliable commute.
Additionally, the LIRR opened its first station in 50 years, Elmont-UBS Arena Station, increasing station access and reducing traffic by offering a sustainable and convenient option for event attendees.
Grand Central Madison is the largest passenger rail terminal to be built in the country in 67 years and was one of the largest transportation infrastructure projects in the United States in recent years. The terminal contains two-level caverns that support four platforms and eight tracks, and home to permanent mosaic artworks by internationally renowned artists, Yayoi Kusama and Kiki Smith. On the day of full service, the first morning rush hour train was the 4:57 a.m. train from Hempstead, arriving Grand Central Madison at approximately 5:48 a.m.