As a service to commuters, we provide this getaway advice for those who are exiting NYC (via public transit) for Memorial Day Weekend. Read on for:
- A look back at 2018: “What happened on the Friday before the holiday last year?“
- Clever Commute’s “SIX T’s” – the key to a stress-free commute on get-away day.
(1) What happened on the Friday before Memorial Day Weekend 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.
- Starting at 1:03 PM – A steady stream of offical announcements regarding delays
- 1:00 PM to 4:00PM – About a dozen different official issues announced
(mostly delays, bus some cancelled trains). These were generally equipment problems
- 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM – About a dozen more official LIRR alerts regarding delayed trains.
A common theme was “high volume of customers traveling”
- In the 7:00 PM hour, the Babylon branch took a hit
- 7:18 PM – Scattered delays “due to a truck striking a LIRR bridge west of Lynbrook”
- 7:44 PM – LIRR announced “delays averaging 15 – 20 minutes in both directions”
- 8:48 PM – LIRR announced Babylon branch is “on or close”
The big story was the New Haven line: delays due to issues closing the bridge after an opening in the vicinity of South Norwalk
4:03 PM – Metro North estimated 20-30 min delays (https://t.co/jsgb3p1EjH)
4:30 PM – Metro North upped the estimate to 45 minutes (https://t.co/1SKw6sAX0D)
NJ Transit Trains
- 1:21 PM – NJT announced delays due to “heavy customer travel”
- 1:56 PM – NJT reiterated the “heavy customer travel” warning
- 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM – NEC and NJCL issues due to equipment problems and then fire department activity
- Main & Bergen experienced this:
- In the 5:00 PM hour – 2 trains canceled
- In the 6:00 PM hour – a few late trains due to signal problems
- 6:31 PM – NJT officially announced systemwide delays “due to congestion caused by holiday travel”
7:30 PM – NJT announced trains are “on or close”
Hoboken was consistently reported to be a good option throughout the day
It was an OK evening commute
- 3:24 PM – An official warning of NJ-bound delays due to the general volume of traffic
- 3:31 PM – In-bound Lincoln delays were announced…with a warning about pending outbound delays
- 3:54 PM – A second, official warning of NJ-bound delays
(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..Tickets…TICKETS.
If you or your traveling companion will need a ticket, get it BEFORE Friday afternoon.
Lines are loooooong on getaway days.
Idea: LIRR, Metro North, NJ 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 Friday.
- Pick/Pack your bag early and lightly!
- Make your plan now…Do NOT wait until Friday morning to start thinking about this.
Have a great holiday!