On the first full day of commuter traffic to Grand Central Madison, the Long Island Railroad said there was an overall uptick in Monday morning rush hour traffic, with ridership up nearly 2%.
But by the second morning rush on Feb. 28, Newsday was reporting that several trains packed with commuters who wanted to get off on the new east side terminal were diverted to Penn Station due to signal problems. And Newsday also said there were reports of leaky ceilings in the brand new terminal.
By the conclusion of the first rush hour on Feb. 27, the railroad had recorded 47,413 morning peak passengers. Manhattan-bound customers were split 30% traveling to Grand Central Madison on its first full day, 70% to Penn Station.
Shuttle service between Jamaica and the new terminal had begun on January 25 but the first full service did not go into effect until Feb. 27th.
With full service now operating to Grand Central Madison, the LIRR is operating 271 trains per day, increasing LIRR systemwide service by 41%, to 936 trains per weekday and creating true reverse-peak service on the Port Jefferson and Ronkonkoma Branches for the first time. Some customers on the Port Washington and Oyster Bay lines complained that their commute times have actually increased, in part because many trains that at one point had gone direct now require a change at Jamaica.
Catherine Rinaldi, the interim president of the LIRR and Metro North had said that the railroad will watch travel patterns and could make adjustments down the road.
In an appearance at the terminal, she was upbeat at the new service during the first rush hour. “To be here today in the beautiful new Grand Central Madison concourse is a thrill,” said Rinaldi. “This project has been in planning and development since the 1960s and it is revolutionizing travel across the entire region. It has been great to greet so many customers and to see first-hand the benefit to customers who work on, and need to travel to, the East Side of Manhattan