Have Metro-North and the LIRR Gone Coo-Coo?

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Coo-Coo Text System: Schedule & Fare Info For Metro-North, LIRR, PATH & NJ Transit

The Coo-Coo text system is the easiest way to get schedule and fare information for Metro-North, Long Island Railroad (LIRR), the PATH train and NJ Transit. All you need is a phone with texting capability.

These transportation systems serve Long Island, Connecticut, New Jersey and the following counties north of New York City: Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, Rockland and Orange. This text system works only within the NYC region.

Coo-Coo’s text number is: 266266. And, yes, there’s an app for it. It is available for Apple products through the App store and for Android through Google Play.

Metro-North train approaches a station at sunset. A picturesque sunset illuminates the background. Metro-North trains serve New York's suburbs.

With the Hudson River in the background, a Metro-North train approaches a station at sundown. The Coo-Coo text system for Metro-North, Long Island Railroad, NJ Transit and PATH trains is fast, convenient and free.

Coo-Coo Text System: 5 Easy Steps For NYC Area Public Transportation Information

Let’s walk through an example. For our example, let’s assume we want to travel from Grand Central to Tarrytown, New York.

  • We can abbreviate Grand Central Terminal to “GCT.”
  • We can abbreviate Penn Station to “Penn.”
  • You can follow along on your phone if you are in the NYC region.

Coo-Coo Text Step 1: Prepare to text

Your text will be sent to: 266266. This number spells out “Coo Coo” on your phone’s keypad.

Coo-Coo Text Step 2: Send your text

  • Send a text that reads GCT to Tarrytown to 266266
  • Your text message is written in this format: “Your starting point” to “Your destination.”
  • Here, Grand Central Terminal (GCT) is our starting point; Tarrytown is our destination.

Here are some more examples. The bold text shows how your text message should be written.

If you’re going from:

  • Penn Station to Freeport, Long Island (Penn to Freeport).
  • Port Jervis, New York to Penn Station (Port Jervis to Penn).
  • Poughkeepsie, New York to Grand Central Terminal (Pkp to GCT).
  • Stony Brook, Long Island to Northport, Long Island  (Stony Brook to Northport).
  • Journal Square in Jersey City, New Jersey to 33rd St. stop in Manhattan: (Journal to 33).

Coo-Coo Text Step 3: Receive Coo-Coo’s Response

After texting GCT to Tarrytown, Coo-Coo will respond with a text similar to this:

a. 03:20 pm-4:10 On Tm

b. 03:57 pm-04:37 On Tm

c. 04:20 pm-05:11  +10

d. 04:57-05:37

m. More

Coo-Coo’s response shows the next 4 trains departing. There is also an option (M) to see more train departures. Easy, right? Let’s continue.

(Note: What you see may be different because schedules and fares change regularly.)

Coo-Coo Text Step 4: Select Your Train

Now let’s pick a train. The 3:57 pm train (Option B) from Grand Central to Tarrytown looks good.

To see detailed info for Option B, we simply text “B.”

By the way:

  • On Tm= Train is running on time.
  • A plus sign (+) with a number next to it means the train is running late. In Option C above, for example, +10 means that train is running 10 minutes late.

Coo-Coo Text Step 5: Receive Detailed Information On The Train Selected

After texting “B,” we will receive a second text message from the Coo-Coo system. It will look like this:

Details

3:57 pm depart Grand Central on track 33

4:37 pm arrive Tarrytown

travel time 40m

Fares

Off Peak $X

Peak $XX*

s. stops

This second text message tells us:

  • Departure time (3:57 pm)
  • Departing station (Grand Central)
  • Which track the train will leave from (33)
  • Our arrival time in Tarrytown (4:37 pm)
  • Travel time (40 minutes)
  • Cost of train ticket during Off-Peak and Peak hours
  • The asterisk (*) next to “Peak Price” tells us we will pay the peak price. Peak trains cost more than off-peak trains. If you travel during off-peak hours, the asterisk will appear next to the off-peak price.
  • We can also see which stops the train will make between Grand Central and Tarrytown. To see these stops, we simply send another text that says “S” and wait for Coo-Coo to respond.

Under “Fares,” your text will show current prices. They are not included here because prices change regularly.

  • Off-peak= non-rush hours= cheapest option ($).
  • Peak= rush hours= more expensive than off-peak ($$).
  • On board= buying ticket on the train= most expensive option ($$$). (NEVER BUY YOUR TICKET ON THE TRAIN. IT’S EXPENSIVE.)

 Important Notes On Metro-North/LIRR Tickets & Schedules

Go To The Correct Station

Grand Central Terminal serves Metro-North trains traveling to: Westchester County, Putnam County, Dutchess County and Connecticut. These trains run along the Hudson, Harlem and New Haven Lines.

New York’s Penn Station serves Metro-North, NJ Transit and LIRR trains going to: Long Island, Rockland County, Orange County and New Jersey. They operate on the Pascack Valley Line, the Port Jervis Line and the Long Island Railroad network.

Grand Central Terminal is at 42nd Street and Park Ave. Penn Station is at 34th Street and 7th Ave.

Never Buy Your Tickets On The Train

Always buy your tickets before boarding. It saves you money.

Be Aware Of Significant Discounts

These include discounts for:

  • Children between 5 and 11
  • People 65 and older*
  • Medicare Recipients*
  • Disabled Persons*
  • Groups of 10 or more*

*These discounted tickets cannot be used on trains heading into New York City during morning peak hours.
During eligible times, seniors, Medicare recipients and disabled persons may buy tickets on the train without penalty. This does not apply to groups!

You May Have To Transfer Trains

You may have to transfer trains during your trip. It depends on your destination and time of travel. If this is the case, your Coo-Coo text message will contain the word “Switch.

For example, if your text message says “Switch Secaucus Junction” or “Switch Croton-Harmon,” you will have to transfer trains at either Secaucus Junction or Croton-Harmon.

Tomorrow’s Schedule

Want to know tomorrow’s train schedules? Just enter your text and the time of day you want to know about.

To go from Grand Central Terminal to Stamford, Connecticut tomorrow morning at 7:00 am, for example, your text should read: “GCT to Stamford 7 am.”

For additional New York City Public Transit Resources

See our New York City Public Transit Resources page.

Metro-North’s Phone Number
For automated schedule and fare information by telephone, call (212) 532-4900 and follow the prompts.
To speak with a human being, call (212) 532-4900 and say “Representative” when the automated system answers.

LIRR’s Phone Number
For automated schedule and fare information, dial (718) 217-5477 and follow the prompts.
To speak with a person, call (718) 217-5477 and say “Representative” when the system answers.

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