Thanksgiving 2018 Getaway Day Advice

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

  1. A look back at 2017: “What happened on the Wednesday before the holiday last year?
  2. Clever Commute’s “SIX T’s” – the key to a stress-free commute on get-away day.

(I) What happened on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving last year?

  • Before 1:00 PM – Things are generally OK
  • 1:00 – 2:00 PM – Riders reported crowded NJT trains. LIRR likely just as bad at this time.
  • 2:00 PM – Some delays flared up on NJT and LIRR trains
  • 3:00 PM – Penn Stations was “packed”. Several trains described as Standing Room Only. Buses to NJ were crowded and Route 3 was slow.
  • 4:00 PM – Long lines at Port Authority. A few LIRR connection-related delays. Some NJT trains were crowded to the point where people could not board.
  • 5:00 PMLIRR announced systemwide eastbound delays due to switch troubles. This was followed by scattered cancellations on several lines. NJT was fairly uneventful.
  • 6:00 PM – Scattered delays and cancelled LIRR trains. Later in this hour, LIRR asserts that trains are on or close…but a few minutes after that, they announce known delays on 6 lines
  • 7:00 PM and later – Things quiet down

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

1. [NEW]  Technology – Think NOW about updating your apps, loading your e-Reader, charge your headphones, curate your your playlist, charge your device and consider a portable charger. Simple things that 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!