There’s a new $13 way to get from midtown Manhattan to JFK

Smart travelers on a budget know that one of the cheapest ways to travel to New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) is via the Long Island Rail Road from Penn Station. However, for those who live or work on the East Side of Manhattan, the commute to Penn Station and then to JFK can be a hassle.

Fortunately, that commute will soon disappear for some: The Metropolitan Transit Authority plans to launch LIRR service from the new Grand Central Madison Station, located beneath Grand Central Terminal, to Jamaica, Queens, on January 25. The Jamaica stop is approximately 15 minutes away from JFK via AirTrain.

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

The first train is scheduled to depart Jamaica at 10:45 a.m. and arrive at Grand Central Madison at 11:07 a.m. For at least the next three weeks, the MTA said it plans to operate limited service between Jamaica and Grand Central Madison. so passengers can familiarize themselves with the new terminal.

MARK A. HERMAN/MTA

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

Trains will initially run from 6:15am to 8:00pm on weekdays and from 7:00am to 11:00pm on weekends. Trains will run every 30 minutes between Grand Central Madison and Jamaica during weekday lunch periods and weekends. Trains will also run once an hour during peak periods. The MTA said that frequencies will likely increase after the launch, although they did not disclose further details.

TPG’s Scott Meyerowitz found that you can get to Jamaica Station from midtown Manhattan in just 21 minutes.

Grand Central to Jamaica in just 21 minutes. MTA

The MTA eventually plans to start 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 $13 one way.

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An off-peak LIRR city fare from Grand Central to Jamaica is $5, and AirTrain from Jamaica to the airport terminals is another $8 if you already have an MTA MetroCard. That’s an extra $1 to buy a reloadable MetroCard for those without one.

Prices up to $5 off-peak for new service. MTA

During peak rush hours, the price of an LIRR ticket jumps to $10.75, raising the price of the entire trip to $18.75.

Peak prices for new service. MTA

LIRR service from Grand Central Madison provides an affordable commute alternative to JFK for those living on or near Manhattan’s East Side.

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

Uber ride from JFK to the West Side of Manhattan in 2022 UBER

Fares start at $74 for a flat fee; however, when you add in tips and tolls, you can easily push the price up to $100.

New York Airport Taxi Rates. NYC.GOV

The other problem with traveling by car is traffic. On a good day, you can get to JFK in just 35-40 minutes, but if you add in New York’s notorious traffic, you could be looking at an hour and a half.

Before the new option, you’d have to take the subway or bus to Penn Station and then catch the LIRR to Jamaica—a time-consuming and difficult trip depending on where you’re coming from. A route like this can easily add more than half an hour to the journey.

The long-awaited announcement comes as construction delays and financial problems have stalled the project for decades. Originally known as the East Side Access station, construction on Grand Central Madison began in the 1960s. However, rising costs and a city-wide fiscal crisis quickly caused New York to halt construction.

Construction then resumed in the 1990s, but construction delays, mismanagement and cost overruns stalled the project. The MTA originally aimed to open the new terminal by the end of 2022, but when one part of the terminal needed “additional 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 from Madison Avenue. (Actually, the actual entrances are on Vanderbilt Avenue and East 43rd, East 44th, East 45th, East 46th, East 47th, and East 48th Streets.)

Map of Grand Central Madison. MTA.INFO

The sprawling Grand Central Madison Terminal cost a whopping $11.6 billion to build and is one of the largest transportation infrastructure projects in the US in recent years. Grand Central Madison also represents the LIRR’s first expansion in 100 years.

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