Getaway Day Advice – July 4 Holiday 2019

As a service to commuters, we provide this getaway advice for those who are exiting NYC (via public transit) for the July 4 holiday. Read on for:

  1. A look back at 2018: “What happened on the day before the holiday last year?
  2. Clever Commute’s “SIX T’s” – the key to a stress-free commute on get-away day.

(1) What happened on the day before July 4 last year?

Overall: things were good before 1:00 PM. Conditions deteriorated in the 1:00 hour.
See carrier-specific notes below for details about what happened on your commute.


  • Just after 1:00 PM – Vehicle striking a LIRR bridge east of Merillon (Ronk branch) gets the afternoon off to an odd start with delayed inbound trains. These inbound delays continued for a few hours
  • 4:00 to 8:00 PM – Signal troubles outside East River Tunnel
  • 6:22 PM – Switch problem at Jamaica
  • 6:00 PM- 8:00 PM – Reports of congestion due to earlier signal problem
  • 8:20 PM – LIRR announces “on or close”
  • Also: Starting before 6:00 PM, the Port Jefferson branch experience a track conditon near Northport

Metro North

  • 1:36 PM – Police activity in Bridgeport snarls New Haven line
  • 4:46 PM – Harlem Line single tracking caused delays…which were not officially “clear” until 7:30 PM

NJ Transit Trains

  • By 4:00 PM, trains were described as “packed”
  • 6:25 PM – NJT announced delays of 20 min in/out due to signal problems

Hoboken was consistently reported to be a good option throughout the day

NJ Buses

It was an OK evening commute…despite a downed power line on Route 3

(2) Here are Clever Commute’s “SIX T’s” – the key to a stress-free commute on getaway day:

1. Technology – Think and plan NOW. Update your apps, load your e-Reader, charge your headphones, curate your playlist, charge your device and consider a portable charger.
Theses simple things can greatly reduce stress.

2. Tickets – tickets..TicketsTICKETSGet them early!
If you or your traveling companion will need a ticket, get it BEFORE Wednesday afternoon.
Lines are loooooong on getaway days.
Idea: LIRR, Metro NorthNJ Transit and NY Waterway all have ticket apps!

3. Timing is crucial
Use the re-cap above as a guide…but add some padding to be safe.

4. Timetables and Schedule changes 
LIRR, Metro North and NJ Transit will provide (extra) getaway day service…but all 3 have date-specific trip planners on thier sites.

5. Terminal – Choose wisely

  • If it is at all within your control, avoid NY Penn Station.
  • NJT riders: consider Hoboken and/or Newark Penn
  • LIRR riders:  consider Atlantic Terminal or Hunterspoint Avenue

6. Other Tips: 

  • Dress in layers – the terminal or the trains can be warm
  • Bring water/snacks – save time…save money. Plan ahead.
  • “Baggage strategy” matters – There is going to be lots of luggage around on Wednesday.
  • Pick/Pack your bag early and lightly!
  • Make your plan now…Do NOT wait until Wednesday morning to start thinking about this.

Have a great holiday!

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