The Long Island Rail Road recently made two notable improvements to its “Take the Train to the Game” Meadowlands Rail program. First, it changed its joint LIRR/NJT ticketing policy. Second, it added excellent schedule information to its website.
The original joint LIRR/NJT ticketing policy was that such tickets could only be used on football game days, and not on days for which rail service was running to the Meadowlands for any other event or reason. That policy has now been changed to allow the LIRR/NJT joint tickets to also be used for a limited number of non-football events. This is likely a result of the the huge lines seen at the NJT ticket machines in Penn Station before the U2 concerts, and should help to reduce those lines in the future.
Since NJT must adequately staff the Secaucus turnstiles to manually process the joint ticket holders (the joint tickets, printed on LIRR ticket stock, do not have the correct magnetic stripe and encoding to work in the turnstiles), this policy change could not have come about without NJT’s input/permission. So if NJT ok’ed it, it is curious that Metro-North has not yet updated their policy about the use of MNCR/NJT joint tickets to the Meadowlands. As of now, MNCR’s website text and detailed brochure (PDF) both continue to state that “[the MNCR/NJT joint] tickets are only good for travel to football games and not for any other event at the Meadowlands Sports Complex.”
The LIRR has also done what NJT should have done from the beginning – publish a simple one-page schedule of all the trains to and from the Meadowlands. The LIRR now allows you to click on the game time of the football game you are traveling to, and then they present you with a table of trains times for traveling between Penn Station and the Meadowlands Sports Complex station.
This is a huge help for people trying to understand how often the trains run, how long the rides and transfers take, and what their options are for getting home from the game. Bravo LIRR!
Click the links below to see the game time timetables, or look at the screen shots below them.