LIRR expanding access to Citi Field for COVID-19 vaccinations

The Mets-Willets Point station on the LIRR Port Washington branch, which is usually only open during Mets home games, will be used to shuttle people to and from the mass COVID-19 vaccination site at Citi Field.
Photo courtesy of MTA

The Long Island Rail Road is pulling out all the stops to get New Yorkers to the vaccination site at Citi Field in Queens, and by that we mean all train schedules on the Port Washington line will include a stop the nearby Mets-Willets Point station.

The stop is usually only in service for Mets home games and the U.S. Open at nearby Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. But this time, the stops at Willets Point will help bring Queens residents and essential workers to the mass vaccine site.

“We’re taking our regular service and we’re making every train stop at Mets – Willets Point to support the vaccines that are going to distributed at Citi Field tomorrow and we’re going to continue that 24/7 indefinitely,” LIRR President Phil Eng said. “What we wanted to do is make sure people had another option, another alternative to getting to Citi Field, including subways, driving, taking buses.”

While this will give New Yorkers an option during the hours that subway service is closed to the public between 1 and 5 a.m., Eng said LIRR service maybe reduced from service every 30 minutes during these hours. It is expected to compliment 7 train service and Q48 buses.

The lack of subway service around the clock, a New York City stable that has been on back-burner since May as the MTA attempts sterilize trains and stations due to COVID-19 has led to scrutiny not only directed Governor Andrew Cuomo, but also Mayor Bill de Blasio, who have refused to return overnight service for essential workers and now for New Yorkers needing to reach 24/7 vaccination sites.

It should also be noted that service on Feb. 13 will be reduced from every half hour to on the hour and work crews complete track work, according to the MTA.

“That is about 84 trains a day that will be stopping here, the trains will be running 24/7 and that’s about every 30 minutes that people can rely on a train during the day, in the evening a little less frequent,” Eng added.

Boarding from for city dwellers will need to be made at either Penn Station or Woodside where express stops are made.

Currently, the Citi Field vaccination site is prioritizing Queens residents with special appointments, especially for TLC licensed drivers and food service workers.