AAA has come out with its 2012 Thanksgiving holiday travel forecast, and they project that 43.6 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, an increase of 0.7 percent over the 43.3 million people who traveled last year. This increase marks the fourth consecutive year of growing holiday travelers since 2008 when Thanksgiving travel fell by 25 percent. They also predict that ninety percent of travelers — approximately 39.1 million — will travel by automobile, an increase of 0.6 percent over last year.
Thanksgiving travel hit a decade low in 2008, and since that year there has been a steady increase in the number of travelers taking to the roads and skies for the Thanksgiving holiday.
It’s unclear the impact Hurricane Sandy will have on our region, but with some trains still not running and some communities still devastated, getting around could be harder than normal this year.
Additionally, AAA predicts that the national average price of gasoline will drop to between $3.25 – $3.40 a gallon by the holiday, similar to last year’s average of $3.32, which was the most expensive average ever on Thanksgiving. Despite the historically high prices paid by motorists this year, the national average has declined by nearly 40 cents a gallon since early October and should continue to drop through the end of the year. The national average price of gas for Thanksgiving from 2007 – 2011 is $2.75 a gallon.
As always, Wednesday is expected to be the busiest travel day. Among those surveyed by AAA, the majority of travelers plan to leave the Wednesday before the holiday (45 percent) and return the following Sunday (36 percent) with another 25 percent expecting to return on Monday, Nov. 26.
Considering Transit for the Holidays?
- NJ TRANSIT: Transit is always a good option to investigate for these traffic-ridden holidays such as Thanksgiving. While NJ Transit service is back up and running today with the exception of the Gladstone Branch service. However, the agency is still recovering from the effects of Hurricane Sandy, and it is not clear yet if they will be able to offer the increased service that they often offer over holiday weekends. Visit njtransit.com and use the “Station-to-Station Trip Planner” to find trains in your area. Bus service information varies by route and can be found here. Some buses are operating extra trips on weekends to ease overcrowding during the holiday season. Light rail info can be found here. For complete schedule and fare information, as well as holiday schedule updates, visit njtransit.com or call 973-275-5555.
- Bank of America/Merrill Lynch Hopewell Shuttle: No service on Thursday; regular schedule on Friday.
- Route 130 Connection: No service on Thursday; regular schedule on Friday.
- Princeton FreeB: Daytime: No service on Thursday; Holiday Service Schedule on Friday. Commuter: No service on Thursday; regular schedule on Friday.
- Amtrak: Northeast Corridor: Special Holiday Service on both Thursday and Friday. For info, see: http://www.amtrak.com/ccurl/132/755/Thanksgiving-Timetable-201211-NEC.pdf