MTA Guide to Accessible Transit
MTA Commuter Rail Lines:
Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad
- The Reduced-Fare Program
- Boarding, Riding and Leaving Trains
- Commuter Rail Main Terminal Stations
- Accessible Station List
- Elevator and Escalator Outages
The Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad connect New York City with nine suburban counties in New York State and Connecticut, providing regular train service to communities as far away as Montauk, Poughkeepsie, and New Haven. Together the railroads have more than 60 accessible stations and nearly 100 additional stations with wheelchair accessibility.
Individuals with qualifying disabilities who have the required identification can travel on the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad for half fare. Reduced-fare benefits are available for all single-ticket purchases at all times except during certain morning peak periods (LIRR trains scheduled to arrive at New York City terminals between 6 and 10 a.m. on weekdays and MNR trains arriving at Grand Central Terminal between 5 and 10 a.m. weekdays or departing GCT between 5:30 and 9 a.m. weekdays). Because they represent a significant discount, there is no reduced-fare program for multiple-trip commutation tickets.
To pay reduced fare, you must present one of the following forms of identification:
- Reduced-Fare MetroCard (which need not have any value when used for identification purposes; information is available on this website)
- Paratransit card (Access-A-Ride, Able-Ride, or Suffolk County Accessible Transportation-SCAT)
- MTA Reduced-Fare ID card (issued prior to 1995)
- Medicare Card (Medicaid Card not valid for reduced fare)
If you are a daily or frequent commuter, you may opt to use the Mail&Ride program to receive your monthly LIRR or Metro-North Railroad commutation ticket at home automatically. This program does not provide reduced-fare benefits, but the regular monthly ticket costs approximately half the regular peak one-way fare and may be used during peak or off-peak hours for unlimited rides for the calendar month.
Mail&Ride payments can be deducted from your checking account, charged directly to a major credit card, or paid by check, money order, or transit benefit cards or vouchers. Mail&Ride applications are available at station ticket offices or you can apply online for an LIRR or MNR Mail&Ride account from the MTA web site. You can also use the web to enroll directly in Mail&Ride. Please call Long Island Rail Road at 718-217-5477 or Metro-North Railroad at 800-638-7646 (212-532-4900 in New York City) for more information.
You may also opt to purchase a combined monthly commuter rail/Unlimited Ride MetroCard. Please note that the MetroCard portion of the ticket is not a Reduced-Fare MetroCard. To take advantage of the reduced-fare benefit, you need to apply for a Reduced-Fare MetroCard.
Paying Your Rail Fare
You can purchase a reduced-fare ticket at ticket windows or on the train (higher on-board fares do not apply to Reduced-Fare customers). All accessible and many recently renovated stations with ticket offices have wheelchair-accessible counters. Reduced-fare tickets are also available in advance using WebTicket for LIRR or MNR . All Ticket Vending Machines (TVMs) are accessible.
To ensure that you have a safe, comfortable, and convenient ride, follow these guidelines:
- Notify the train crew if you need help boarding the train. Crew members check the platform to identify passengers in need of assistance.
- All accessible and newly renovated station platforms have two-foot-wide yellow tactile edge-warning strips. Stay behind these strips until it is time to board the train.
- Wheelchair customers waiting for a train should remain at least five feet (if possible) from the platform's edge and position their wheelchairs with the brakes locked and wheels parallel to the track. It is best to wait in the middle of the platform because cars at either end of the train may be closed during certain times or may not line up with platforms at certain stations.
- When boarding or leaving a train in a wheelchair, back on and off, so that the larger rear wheels lead. This makes it less likely that the small front wheels will get caught in the gap between the platform edge and the train. Whenever the gap or the difference in height between the train and the station is too large, ask the train crew to set a bridge plate in place to span the gap.
- Many MTA commuter rail cars have designated seating for individuals with disabilities and senior citizens, as well as special wheelchair areas where the seats fold up to provide adequate floor space. Please station your wheelchair in the special area or position it in the vestibule area with wheels locked.
- Notify a crew member of your destination if you want to be assisted when you leave the train. If you miss your station, please ask the train crew for assistance in determining an alternate travel plan.
Personal Care Attendants (PCAs - people employed to assist individuals with disabilities) are eligible to ride the commuter railroads free when accompanying a passenger with a disability. Where required, the PCA must carry identification that shows that he or she is employed by an agency that provides services to people with disabilities.
Customers with disabilities are permitted to bring their service animals into all MTA transit facilities. The animals must be securely leashed for the safety of all customers.
Parking facilities at commuter rail stations are operated by Long Island Rail Road or Metro-North Railroad or by local municipalities. For information about parking, call LIRR at 718-217-5477 or MNR at 800-638-7646 or visit the Stations sections for LIRR or MNR.
Changes and Emergencies
Information about changes in service is provided over the public address system in rail stations and on the trains. Accessible stations have a public address system that incorporates a visual display for hearing-impaired individuals. Many of the new commuter rail cars operated by LIRR and MNR have electronic visual displays that provide information as well. If your train is rerouted from an accessible station, ask the train crew or station ticket office staff for assistance in determining an alternate travel plan.
In the event of an emergency, trained railroad personnel and members of the train crew will give you instructions on what to do. When stretchers are used to help customers in wheelchairs leave the train, wheelchairs are removed separately and returned to the owners as soon as possible.
Commuter Rail Main Terminal Stations
Grand Central Terminal has accessible entrances on Lexington Avenue at 43rd Street and at 105 E. 42nd Street east of the Park Avenue overpass, and at the northeast corner of 47th Street and Madison Avenue. When the 47th Street entrance is closed, mobility-impaired customers may use the main entrances on Lexington Avenue or 42nd Street. Elevators provide access to all levels of the Terminal. Other accessibility features include Braille signage, audio-visual information systems, and TTYs throughout the facility.
Metro-North customer service personnel are available to help you throughout Grand Central Terminal. If you require assistance and someone is not readily available, please go to one of the Information Booths on the Main or Dining Concourses or to the Station Master's office located near Track 36 and near the 48th Street and Park Avenue entrance.
Long Island Rail Road
Penn Station has six elevators serving the Long Island Rail Road. One provides access from street level to the LIRR Concourse. It is located on 34th Street, just west of Seventh Avenue, diagonally across the street from Macy's. Purchase tickets on the LIRR Concourse at ticket windows or ticket machines which accept cash, credit cards, or debit cards. Personal checks are accepted at the ticket windows for monthly, weekly, and ten-trip tickets as well as five or more one-way tickets.
Five elevators from the Central Concourse provide access to each of the five platforms used by the LIRR.
Penn Station also has a unique "Talking Kiosk" that combines a tactile and large-print map of the station with a talking computer and large-print screen that give directions when points on the map are pressed. The kiosk gives directions to LIRR ticket windows and track locations, NYC Transit subway lines, MTA Police Headquarters, restrooms, and other important passenger services. It also gives directions to Amtrak and New Jersey Transit services at Penn Station. The kiosk is in the LIRR's Main Gate area, between Tracks 14 and 15, and can be located by its distinctive "chirping" sound.
Flatbush Avenue (Atlantic Avenue Terminal) has one elevator to transport customers between the street and platform levels. To reach the elevator while inside the station, go to the west end of Track 1. The elevator is at the end of the ramp. To reach the elevator from the street, go to Hanson Place, around the corner from the station entrance on Flatbush Avenue.
Jamaica Station elevators provide customers with access to the LIRR portal mezzanine and platforms and to the subway. At street level just outside the LIRR Ticket Office, a bank of three elevators provides access up to the Jamaica Station portal mezzanine or down to the subway station. The portal mezzanine has five elevators that provide access to each of the LIRR's platforms at Jamaica. The mezzanine also serves as a path to the AirTrain JFK terminal.
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