Need Holiday Gridlock Relief? Ride the Rails (or Bus)!

23 Nov

Thanksgiving is a notoriously difficult time to travel. And this year, New Jersey drivers are facing a daunting trifecta: rain-soaked roads on the busiest travel day of the year, gas prices that are 20 percent higher than they were last year, and an expected 4 percent more road volume than last year.

AAA has issued its forecast for Thanksgiving travel originating in its Mid-Atlantic region, which includes New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia and West Virginia, and they’re predicting a jump in travel from the region over last year’s number, breaking with the trend of the past three years, each in which Thanksgiving travel fell below average.

For those from New Jersey, the group predicts more than a million will travel 50 miles or more for the holiday, a slight increase from 2010. A little more than 1,048,000 will reportedly travel either by plane, train or automobile. Of that total, 89 percent will drive, a two-percent jump from last year.

Nine percent will fly, down very slightly (.2 percent) from 2010. The biggest change comes in other modes of travel, rail included, which AAA says will see a 12 percent increase from last year, although only a one percent increase for New Jersey’s travelers.

If you want to get off of the wet crowded roads, transit is a great option, and NJ Transit has adjusted its schedule for the holiday weekend to make things easier for travelers. And remember — if you take a walk to the train station or bus stop, that’s a few extra calories burned, and you can eat an extra slice of pie!

On Wednesday November 23, the busiest travel day of the year, NJ Transit will once again offer “early getaway” rail and bus service for people leaving work early and to provide extra capacity for people traveling to Newark airport. Wednesday is Newark airport’s busiest day of the year, with ridership levels double what they are on a normal weekday. Trains will operate on a weekday schedule on all lines with additional “early getaway” service from New York Penn Station, Newark Penn Station and Hoboken Terminal starting at 1 p.m. on the Northeast Corridor, North Jersey Coast, Raritan Valley, Morris & Essex and Pascack Valley lines.  Plan your trip here. Bus schedules vary by route—customers are advised to check their timetables or visit njtransit.com for schedule information.  Selected routes will operate on special holiday schedules to match service with ridership demand, including early getaway service from the Port Authority Bus Terminal between noon and 4:30 p.m. to accommodate the heaviest travel, with less frequent service during the peak periods and later in the evening due to lower ridership.  View bus holiday service information for Wednesday, November 23 here. Newark Light Rail, Hudson-Bergen Light Rail and River Line will operate on a weekday schedule.

On Thanksgiving Day, November 24, trains will operate on a weekend/major holiday schedule.  To accommodate customers traveling to and from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, NJ Transit is adding extra trains on the Northeast Corridor, North Jersey Coast, Raritan Valley and Morris & Essex lines. Plan your trip here.  Thursday’s bus schedules vary by route.  Selected bus routes will operate extra service to and from the Port Authority Bus Terminal for customers traveling to the parade. View bus holiday service information for Thursday, November 24 here.

On Friday, Nov. 25, traditionally the busiest shopping day of the year, trains will be on a modified weekday schedule and enhanced bus service will be offered to shopping centers throughout New Jersey and additional late morning trains will operate to and from New York. Customers are encouraged to travel early, if possible, when ridership is light.Visit njtransit.com and use the “Station-to-Station Trip Planner” to find trains on Friday. Holiday bus service information for Friday, November 25 varies by route and can be found here. Light rail info can be found here.

Kids ride free on NJT! For the Thanksgiving holiday, NJ TRANSIT’s Family Super Saver Fare, which allows up to two children 11 and younger to travel free with each fare-paying adult, will be in effect from 7 p.m. Wednesday, November 23 until 6 a.m. Monday, November 28.

For complete schedule and fare information, visit njtransit.com or call 973-275-5555.


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