There's a new way to get from midtown Manhattan to JFK - The Points Guy

There’s a new way to get from midtown Manhattan to JFK – The Points Guy

Budget-savvy travelers know that one of the cheapest ways to travel to JFK is via the Long Island Rail Road from Penn Station. However, for those who live or work on Manhattan’s East Side, commuting to Penn Station and then JFK can be daunting.

Fortunately, for some, that ride will soon be over: Metropolitan Transit plans to launch LIRR service from the new Grand Central Madison station, located below Grand Central Terminal, to Jamaica, Queens, on January 25. Jamaica Station is about 15 minutes away from JFK via AirTrain.

This new service will be in addition to the existing trains from Penn Station.

The first train is scheduled to leave Jamaica at 10:45 AM and arrive in Grand Central Madison at 11:07 AM. For at least three weeks, the MTA said it plans to operate limited service between Jamaica and Grand Central Madison up to commuters. They can learn about the new station.

Mark A Hermann/MTA

During this trial period, the MTA said customers could use Penn Station tickets to ride the LIRR from Grand Central Madison.

Trains will initially run from 6:15 am to 8 pm on weekdays and from 7 am to 11 pm on weekends. Trains will run every 30 minutes between Grand Central Madison and Jamaica during middays and weekends. Trains will also run once an hour during peak periods. The MTA said it will likely increase frequencies after launch, though it did not disclose any other details.

TPG’s Scott Mayerowitz found that you can get to the Jamaica station from midtown Manhattan in as little as 21 minutes.

From Grand Central to Jamaica in less than 21 minutes. MTA

The MTA plans to eventually begin full LIRR service from Grand Central Madison to Jamaica, hoping to increase overall LIRR service by 41%.

The new route can be as cheap as $15.75 one way.

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An “off-peak” city ticket on the LIRR from Grand Central to Jamaica is $7.75 and the AirTrain from Jamaica to the airport terminals is another $8, if you already have an MTA MetroCard. It’s an extra $1 to buy a reloadable MetroCard for those who don’t have one.

Prices as low as $5 off-peak for the new service. MTA

During peak rush hour times, the LIRR jumps to $10.75, which brings the price of the entire trip to $18.75.

Peak prices for the new service. MTA

Grand Central Madison’s LIRR service provides an affordable alternative to flying to JFK for those who live on or near Manhattan’s East Side.

To save time, many New Yorkers take Uber or Lyft to JFK, but those services can cost $100 or more.

An Uber ride from JFK to Manhattan’s West Side in 2022. Uber

Taxis start at $74 for a flat fee; However, tips and fees can easily push the price up to $100.

Airport taxi rates in New York City. New York City

The other problem with getting around by car is traffic. On a good day, you can get to JFK in as little as 35-40 minutes, but look at NYC’s notorious traffic and you might be looking at up to an hour and a half.

Prior to the new option, you’ll either have to take the subway or bus to Penn Station and then take the LIRR to Jamaica—a long and arduous journey depending on where you’re from. Such routing could easily add more than half an hour to the trip.

News of LIRR’s debut at Grand Central Madison was met with much fanfare. About an hour before the first train from Grand Central Madison set off for Jamaica, Queens, passers-by hovered near Luke’s Lobster in the train station’s dining lobby, waiting for the MTA to officially open the red gates to the newer LIRR station.

Once the gates to Grand Central Madison officially opened around 11 a.m., the crowd cheered and everyone packed into the brand-new station. LIRR customer ambassadors distributed memorabilia such as pins, baseball caps, and stickers to visitors. And those who took the first train from Jamaica to Grand Central Madison at 10:45 a.m. were awarded “golden tickets” for taking the train’s inaugural ride to the new station.

Seas of phones recording Grand Central Madison flooded the halls as visitors took selfies, with some excitedly exclaiming that it felt like they were witnessing history.

MTA officials such as President and CEO Jano Lieber and New York Governor Cathy Hochul also attended the grand opening of Grand Central Madison. Hochul emphasized how the project would better connect millions of Long Islanders to New York City, as the MTA estimates that about 45% of LIRR riders will now go to Grand Central instead of Penn Station.

“Infrastructure is all about connections, and this project is an extraordinary step forward to better connect millions of New Yorkers to their homes, families, and jobs,” Hochul said in a press release.

Penelope Weinhart, a realtor, was visiting New York City from Atlanta and catching the first train from Grand Central Madison to catch the AirTrain to JFK from Jamaica Station. She said she was initially unaware of the LIRR service from Grand Central Madison, but then decided to take the train to Jamaica as soon as she heard the news.

“It’s kind of exciting,” Weinhart said. “We didn’t know…it just happened.”

Taking the train to Jamaica and then the AirTrain to JFK was a smooth process. While the Grand Central Madison itself was a very busy first LIRR for Jamaica, Queens was not. Signs to tracks at the new station were easy to find – the Metro North app and schedules at Grand Central Madison updated the track information accordingly.

The first train to Jamaica was supposed to leave at 11:59pm but was about two minutes late. As soon as the train started moving, the passengers cheered excitedly. The train also made stops at Woodside, Forest Hills and Kew Gardens before landing in Jamaica. Even though this was the first train to depart from Grand Central Madison, it felt as if this route had been done a million times before – there were no hitches.

From Grand Central Madison, the train takes about 25 minutes to get to Jamaica. Once the train stopped in Jamaica, it didn’t take long to find the AirTrain, and the bright yellow signs indicating the AirTrain were easy to spot. The only problem with taking the AirTrain was that it required an MTA card, which seems archaic considering NYC subways now take Apple Pay.

But the train from Grand Central Madison to Jamaica has proven not only affordable, but also an easy alternative to getting to JFK for residents of Manhattan’s East Side. The trains arrived on time and each train ride to and from Jamaica took no more than 30 minutes – the drive to JFK from Manhattan could easily take over an hour with the traffic.

The long-awaited opening of Grand Central Madison came as construction delays and financial problems hampered the project for decades. Also known as the East Side Access Terminal Project, construction of Grand Central Madison began in the 1960s. However, rising costs and a citywide financial crisis quickly stopped New York City from building.

Construction then resumed in the 1990s, but construction delays, mismanagement, and cost overruns halted the project. The MTA initially intended to open the new station by the end of 2022, but when one area of ​​the station needed “extra work,” it pushed the date back.

Last week, the MTA tested 40 empty trains to and from the brand new station, according to Gothamist.

There is also a separate entrance to the new station. As the name suggests, you can enter the building through separate entrances off Madison Avenue. (In fact, the actual entrances are located on what would be Vanderbilt and East 43rd, East 44th, East 45th, East 46th, East 47th, and East 48th streets.)

Grand central madison map. MTA. INFO

The sprawling Grand Central Madison station cost nearly $11 billion to build and is one of the largest transportation infrastructure projects in the United States in recent years. Grand Central Madison also marks the first expansion of the LIRR in 100 years.

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