MTA Thanksgiving Holiday Service Info

Today marks the busiest travel day of the season. The MTA has you covered as they put out their service plan information for the 2019 Thanksgiving holiday which they asked me to share with my readers:

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and its legion of customer ambassadors are preparing to help millions of holiday travelers get to their holiday destinations during the Thanksgiving weekend 2019. Trains and buses across the MTA system will operate on special schedules on Wednesday, Nov. 27, through Sunday, Dec. 1 – with lots of extra railroad service on Wednesday afternoon – to accommodate the unique travel demands of Thanksgiving weekend.

Last year on Thanksgiving Eve, the Long Island Rail Road carried 109,125 people eastbound from Penn Station between noon and 8 p.m., a 21% increase over a normal weekday and a 5% increase over the prior year. The LIRR projects carrying more than 110,000 this year. Last year, Metro-North Railroad carried 100,275 people northbound from Grand Central between noon and 8 p.m., a 17.4% increase over a normal weekday and a 6.4% increase over the prior year. Metro-North expects to carry 102,000 customers from Grand Central between noon and 8 p.m., the highest ever in Metro-North history, and 2% higher than last year’s getaway.

Last year, the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad carried a combined 60,000 people from Midtown Manhattan between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day as crowds returned from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, more than double the number of people normally departing during that time on an average weekday.

“The MTA moves 8.5 million people on a normal weekday, and we’re preparing to handle new customers at new times throughout the coming weekend, with customer ambassadors at major hubs and lots of extra train service at key times,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Patrick J. Foye. “The MTA’s digital trip planning and real-time information tools make it easier than ever to travel with us.”

In keeping with the holiday spirit, the LIRR and Metro-North will offer tickets at off-peak prices over the four-day Thanksgiving holiday starting on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 28, until Sunday, Dec. 1. Customers are encouraged to buy tickets in advance, and those traveling into Manhattan can purchase a 10-trip off-peak ticket to save 30% to 40% off the one-way fare. The ticket can be used by more than one person, even when traveling together. The “Family Fare” costs $1 per ticket for up to four children (ages 5 to 11) when they are traveling with a fare-paying adult.

The LIRR and Metro-North recommend customers use MTA eTtix®, the mobile ticketing app, to buy one-way, round-trip, 10 trip, weekly and monthly passes, as well as reduced fare tickets, child and family fare tickets and military tickets, on smartphones or mobile devices.

To encourage the use of mass transit and to ease congestion on New York City streets during the Thanksgiving holiday, the MTA and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey are offering free rides on the Q70 Select Bus Service (SBS) LaGuardia Link from Monday, Nov. 25, to Monday, Dec. 2. The Q70 SBS connects the  subway lines and Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) to LaGuardia Terminals B, C and D, providing a worry-free limited-stop ride with customer amenities designed for travelers. Stops for Q70 SBS LaGuardia Link are distinctly marked outside LIRR’s Woodside Station/61 St-Woodside  subway station and the Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Av /74 St-Broadway  subway station complex. Customers boarding at LaGuardia Terminals B, C, and D can spot the LaGuardia Link buses via their distinctive blue exterior design and SBS signage. Customers are urged to allow extra time due to ongoing construction near LaGuardia Airport and increased holiday traffic. More information on MTA various services to New York area airports is available here:

MTA Bridges and Tunnels will suspend all lane closures related to routine maintenance and temporary construction work beginning 6 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 27, through the end of the morning rush on Monday, Dec. 2, to accommodate motorists throughout the busy travel weekend. Any extraordinary weather-critical work that must be accomplished over the holiday weekend would occur only during overnight hours when traffic is at its lightest.

More information about subway and bus service for the holiday period is available here:


Wednesday, Nov. 27: Extra Early Afternoon Service on LIRR, Metro-North and SIR

The Long Island Rail Road will operate 12 extra trains departing Penn Station between 12:45 p.m. and 4:15 p.m. The extra service includes four extra trains on the Babylon Branch, three on the Port Jefferson/Huntington Branch, two on the Ronkonkoma Branch, and one each on the Far Rocakway, Montauk and Port Washington Branches. Times are shown in the current timetables and are available by using the MTAmta app and trip planning tools.

Metro-North Railroad will operate 18 early getaway trains departing Grand Central Terminal between 12:45 p.m. and 4:15 p.m. The extra service includes 10 extra trains on the New Haven Line, five on the Hudson Line and three on the Harlem Line. Times are shown in the current timetables and are available by using the MTAmta app and trip planning tools.

For Metro-North’s West-of-Hudson customers, early getaway trains will operate on both the Pascack Valley Line and Port Jervis Line. On the Pascack Valley Line, there will be a 2:58 p.m. departure from Hoboken (with a connection departing New York’s Penn Station at 2:51 p.m.) making select stops in New Jersey before arriving at Pearl River, Nanuet and Spring Valley. On the Port Jervis Line, the 2:41 p.m. train from Hoboken to Middletown (with a connection departing New York Penn Station at 2:33 p.m.) is extended to Port Jervis.

Due to the busier mid-day travel patterns, some Metro-North evening trains may be canceled or combined, including two from Hoboken: the 5:58 p.m. Pascack Valley Line departure and the 6:15 p.m. Port Jervis Line departure.

Staten Island Railway customers looking to get a head start on the Thanksgiving Day holiday will be able to catch earlier afternoon express train service on Wednesday, Nov. 27, with MTA Staten Island Railway’s Early Departure Getaway schedule. Extra SIR trains will be added earlier in the afternoon beginning at 2:30 p.m. from the St. George Ferry Terminal. There will be one express train and one local train awaiting every boat until 7:50 p.m.

Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28: Take the Subway to Macy’s Parade

On Thanksgiving Day, New York City subways and buses will operate on a Sunday schedule and the Staten Island Railway will operate on a Saturday schedule. Metro-North is operating on a Saturday schedule with extra service before and after the parade. The LIRR and Metro-North’s West of Hudson service will operate on a weekend/holiday schedule with extra service before and after the parade.

There are many bus routes that either do not operate on Sundays or do not run on part of the route at certain hours. Customers traveling on Thanksgiving Day should check Sunday schedules, lines and routes.

Getting to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

The parade kicks off at 9 a.m. at 77th Street and Central Park West and ends in front of Macy’s at Herald Square (34th Street).

The closest subway stations to the start of the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade are the  at 72 St, the  at 79 Street, the  at 81 St, and the  at 59 St-Columbus Circle. There will be additional service on the  42 Street Shuttle as well as increased early morning service on the  line to accommodate spectators. In order to prevent overcrowding on stairways and platforms, some subway entrances at 59 St-Columbus Circle will be closed. Trains will bypass the 72 St  and 57 St  line stations between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m. In addition, select exits and entrances will be closed at Penn Station, and other stations along the Sixth Avenue line.

The LIRR schedule is supplemented with 17 extra trains timed perfectly for those attending the Thanksgiving Day Parade or otherwise visiting the city. There will be six extra westbound trains originating on Long Island between 6 a.m. and 7:45 a.m. (two each on the Babylon Branch and Ronkonkoma Branch, and one each on the Montauk Branch and Port Jefferson Branch), and 11 extra eastbound trains departing Penn Station between 11 a.m. and 1:35 p.m. (four each on the Babylon Branch and Ronkonkoma Branch, two on the Port Jefferson/Huntington Branch and one on the Montauk Branch).

Cars will be added to select LIRR trains as the demand requires to accommodate holiday travelers.

Metro-North will provide additional inbound morning service for customers heading to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. There is also expanded outbound service starting in the late morning and continuing through mid-afternoon. If you’re leaving New York after the parade, customers must show a ticket before boarding trains at Grand Central or Harlem-125th Street Station.

Finally, there will be extra trains in the evening for customers returning to New York City after their Thanksgiving feasts.

West of Hudson, a regular holiday/weekend schedule is in effect for the Port Jervis Line and Pascack Valley Line, with one additional round trip on the Port Jervis Line (shown in the October 29 NJ Transit timetable). Parade-goers can take a 6:22 a.m. departure from Port Jervis arriving in Hoboken at 8:30 a.m. (a connection at Secaucus Junction arrives at New York Penn Station at 8:39 a.m.). After the parade, there is a 12:21 p.m. departure from Hoboken (12:14 p.m. from New York Penn Station) that operates express to Suffern before making all stops to Port Jervis.

All bus service in Manhattan may experience delays, and will be affected by reroutes, detours, and/or frozen zones, especially those routes operating in Midtown near the parade route such as the BxM2, M1, M2, M3, M4, M5, M7, M10, M11, M12, M20, M31, M34 SBS, M34A SBS, M42, M50, M55, M57, M66, M72, M79 SBS, M104, Q32, QM2, QM4, QM5, QM6, SIM1c, SIM3c, SIM4c, and SIM33c. The 79th Street Transverse will be closed from noon Wednesday, Nov. 27, to noon Thursday, Nov. 28, and buses will not be permitted to cross during this time. Details will be provided at under “Service Status.”

Black Friday, Nov. 29

On Black Friday, Nov. 29, New York City buses will operate on a weekday schedule with some exceptions.  On Staten Island, S81 Ltd, S84 Ltd, S86 Ltd, S90 Ltd, S91 Ltd, S92 Ltd, S94 Ltd, S96 Ltd, and S98 Ltd will not run; also, in Queens, Q4 Ltd (AM from subway), Q6 Ltd, Q25 Ltd, and Q65 Ltd will not run. Local service will be available on these routes.

A special schedule will be in effect for express bus routes run by the MTA Bus Company. Visit to view this special schedule and plan your trip accordingly. All other local, express, limited-stop, and Select Bus Service will run with minor adjustments in departure times.  A listing of affected routes and timetables can be found at

The LIRR will operate on a regular weekday schedule, with lower, off-peak fares in effect all day.

Metro-North will operate on an expanded Saturday schedule with additional inbound service in the morning and outbound service in the afternoon to accommodate the Friday workforce and Black Friday shoppers, as well as half-hourly service on the Harlem Line to/from North White Plains. West of Hudson, a regular weekday schedule is in effect.

The Staten Island Railway will operate on a regular weekday schedule.

Saturday, Nov. 30, and Sunday, Dec. 1

New York City Transit, the LIRR and Metro-North will operate on regular weekend schedules.

New York City Subway Thanksgiving Day Service and Vintage Trains Through December

The MTA celebrates the holiday season each year with its “Shoppers Special” vintage subway train cars. This special train of subway cars from the 1930s runs every Sunday between Dec. 1 to Dec. 29. For the first two Sundays, Dec. 1 and 8, the vintage train will depart from the 2 Av  station on the Lower East Side, travelling local along the Eight Avenue  lines between W 4 St and 59 St-Columbus Circle, then express up Central Park West  lines to 125 St. On the last three Sundays, Dec. 15, 22 and 29, the vintage train will operate between the 2 Av  station and 145 St . For a full listing of dates and departures visit

May all of my riders have save travels & a wonderful Thanksgiving!

xoxo Transit Blogger

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