After decades of waiting, LIRR riders can finally look forward to the opening of direct rail service between Long Island and Grand Central Station by the end of 2022. The new service will open in two phases; first with the launch of Grand Central Direct shuttle trains between Jamaica and Manhattan, followed by a complete reorganization of LIRR service taking effect sometime in the following weeks. This long-awaited milestone marks a huge victory for commuters. Though recent delays have been frustrating and disappointing, we are glad that the MTA is following all precautions to ensure the new service and terminal are safe for riders and transit workers starting on Day 1.
We hope that by running the Grand Central Direct shuttle as phase one, the LIRR will collect enough information and feedback to iron out any glitches or service issues and adjust accordingly. Think of the phased opening as a “sneak peak,” like a preview to a Broadway show before the premiere. We’re eagerly awaiting the start date of the shuttle service between Jamaica Station and Grand Central, and we hope it will create a more seamless traveling experience during the busy holiday season, especially for those going to and from JFK Airport.
The amazing new LIRR terminal at Grand Central represents a major step toward a more connected and integrated regional transit network, but it’s far from the last step. The MTA plans to launch the Combo Ticket, a new fare option that will enable a seamless transfer between LIRR and Metro-North trains at Grand Central. Let’s make sure that this innovative fare option reaches its full potential—and that it leads directly to Freedom Ticket: reduced commuter rail fares within New York City with the option of transfers across all MTA services!