Joshua Crandall of Clever Commute, the mobile service that provides real-time information to commuters in New York and New Jersey, has five tips to make you Thanksgiving getaway as stress free as possible on Wednesday if you are taking public transit in New York or New Jersey.
1. Get tickets early. If you or your traveling companion will need a ticket, get it before Wednesday afternoon.Lines are long on getaway days. LIRR, Metro North, NJ Transit and NY Waterway all have ticket apps.
2. Timing is crucial. According to Clever Commute, the day before Thanksgiving in 2016, NY Penn and Grand Central were not crowded at noon and neither were the trains. But by about 1:15 p.m., people reported that conditions were as crowded as a typical rush hour. By 3 p.m., riders at Port Authority shared news of long lines for buses. Passenger volume remained high through the evening rush until as late as 7 p.m. Add some padding to your schedule just to be safe.
4. Choose your terminal wisely. Avoid NY Penn Station if at all possible. NJT riders should consider consider using Hoboken or Newark Penn and PATH. LIRR riders should consider Atlantic Terminal or Hunterspoint Avenue
5. Other Tips: Dress in layers because the terminal or the trains can be warm. Bring water and snacks, and save time and money. Plan ahead. Baggage strategy matters. There will be lots of luggage around on Wednesday. Pick and pack your bag early and lightly. Make your plan now. Don’t wait until Wednesday morning to start thinking about this.
On Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 23, NJ Transit will add extra trains and buses to the schedule in the morning and midday hours to accommodate customers traveling to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. On Friday, Nov. 24, traditionally the busiest shopping day of the year, enhanced bus service will be offered to shopping centers throughout New Jersey and additional trains will operate to and from New York.
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, Nov. 22 until 6 a.m. Monday, Nov. 27.