LIRR admits to miscalculating Grand Central Madison ridership, adds cars to ease chaos

Interim Railroad President Catherine Rinaldi says fewer riders are heading to Grand Central than anticipated.

News 12 Staff

Mar 3, 2023, 10:32 AM

Updated 416 days ago

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After a week of nightmarish commutes, the LIRR admitted Friday that it miscalculated the demand for the new Grand Central Madison service.
Some LIRR riders who wanted to get to Penn Station were faced with delays, crowded trains and longer commute times with the recent schedule changes.
Interim Railroad President Catherine Rinaldi said fewer riders were heading to Grand Central than anticipated.
Rinaldi said that change is what created crowding on Penn Station-bound trains.
The LIRR said it is listening to rider feedback and added cars to busier trains. According to its Twitter page, there will be more shuttle trains to Brooklyn and more cars will be added to rush hour trains on the Babylon, Long Beach, Port Washington and Ronkonkoma lines, starting Monday.
At the at Jamaica train station Friday, there were busy platforms and packed trains as riders sprinted from one track to another. They said their new morning commute is a nightmare after the LIRR rolled out its new Grand Central Madison train services.
"If I can say anything, please have some trains that go directly from Long Island to Brooklyn because we really need that," said Joyce Babik, who commutes from Mineola into Brooklyn. With the new train schedules, she, like many others, now have to transfer.
She gets off track 3 to go up the stairs to get to the other side and back down the stairs to Atlantic Terminal at tracks 11 and 12. This week, she saw it all -- riders running as fast as they could with the hopes to make their second train.
"What I see is a lot of people running, a lot. It looks like ants running in a crazy line. I feel bad for all of us because it's so stressful," Babik said.
The LIRR said ridership is low Friday to Monday, so riders said it is best to come back Tuesday to see if the changes made a difference.
“We're taking cars from trains that are not that crowded to be able to build up the trains that we are continuing to see heavy ridership on," Rinaldi said.
Before the schedule took effect trains typically had twelve cars. All trains were cut down to at least 10 and some now only have six cars.
Rinaldi said the delayed delivery of 200 "M-9" cars forced the railroad to stretch its fleet.


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