Getaway Day Advice for Thanksgiving 2016

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

  1. A look back at 2015: “What was ‘the witching hour’ last year?” (HINT: It starts at 1:30 PM) 
  2. Clever Commute’s “SIX T’s” – the key to a stress-free commute on getaway day
A Lookback: 2015 Thanksgiving Eve Summary


  • As usual, train riders from Grand Central had an easier “go” of things versus NY Penn Station riders
  • Riders reported crowds as early as 1:30 PM ….and things stayed busy until at least 5:30 PM 
  • There were no material train incidents reported after 5:30 PM 


  • Riders to NJ experienced delays due to a water main break in Hoboken
  • Travel at Port Authority was disrupted by a suspicious package.

Believe it or not: You are in control !
Here are six things you can do for a smooth getaway…


1. Telecommute
OK, that’s a bit cheeky. But do you seriously need to go to the office?
Do this: Use the time between now and Tuesday to line up tasks/calls that can be done remotely on Wednesday.

2. Tickets – tickets..TicketsTICKETSGet them early!
If you or your traveling companion will need a ticket, purchase it now.
Lines will be loooooong and stations will be crowded on Wednesday afternoon.
Do this: NJ Transit, Metro North and LIRR all have ticket apps.
Spend a few minutes now to install and set up your account. 

3. Timetables and Schedule changes 
There are websites (e.g., NJ Transit, Metro North, LIRR) as well  as apps galore with info about schedules
(including extra getaway day service).
Do this: Plan ahead…and even think of a backup plan.

4. Timing is crucial
We expect this year’s commuting pattern to be similar to last year.
Do this: Plan your departure time carefully. Even if there is extra service, there will be crowds…and it’s all first-come-first-served.

5. Terminal – Choose wisely
If it is at all within your control, avoid NY Penn Station.
Do this: 

  • NJT riders should consider Hoboken and/or Newark Penn
  • LIRR riders:  try Atlantic Terminal

6. Other Tips: 

  • Dress in layers – The terminal or the trains can be warm…especially when crowded.
  • Bring water/snacks – Save time…save money. 
  • “Baggage strategy” matters – There is not a lot of room on the train/bus.
  • Make your plan now – Do NOT wait until Wednesday morning to start thinking about this.
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