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With the East Side Access opening pushed, MTA rolls out shuttle service and enhanced ticket

Patrick Cashin

New Yorkers will have to wait a little longer to pick up Long Island Rail Road trains at a new station beneath Grand Central Terminal.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said the LIRR will launch a shuttle service between the new Grand Central Madison and Jamaica terminals by the end of the year. It will offer up to two trains per hour. 

Officials say this technically meets the MTA’s goal of opening the new station by the end of 2022. Despite being over a decade late and billions of dollars over budget, the East Side Access service with connections to Metro-North trains won’t open until at least late January. 

Once complete, a pilot program will allow riders to transfer railroads with a single ticket.

With a commuter railroad “combo ticket,” riders will pay a regular fare to get to Grand Central on either railroad, then an additional $8 to transfer to the other railroad. Saving riders over $22 when compared to the most expensive one-way fare.

Several new routes will be created, including Long Island to Yankee Stadium, and Westchester to Kennedy Airport with an AirTrain transfer. The longest route could take a rider from Poughkeepsie to Montauk

When full-service begins, the station will operate up to 24 trains per hour.

A native Long Islander, J.D. is WSHU's managing editor. He also hosts the climate podcast Higher Ground. J.D. reports for public radio stations across the Northeast, is a journalism educator and proud SPJ member.
Sabrina is host and producer of WSHU’s daily podcast After All Things. She also produces the climate podcast Higher Ground and other long-form news and music programs at the station. Sabrina spent two years as a WSHU fellow, working as a reporter and assisting with production of The Full Story.