Travelers try to beat Thanksgiving rush

Nov. 20, 2005 at 4:56 PM
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WASHINGTON, Nov. 20 (UPI) -- As the busiest travel period of the year in the United States approaches, experts say more people are trying to avoid the crunch by leaving early.

"Traditionally, the commute from hell was on Wednesday nights," John Townsend, a spokesman for AAA Mid-Atlantic, told the Washington Post. "I think that's shifted in the last couple years, and more people are leaving earlier for their destinations and spreading out the holiday."

Amtrak spokesman Cliff Black said those who head elsewhere by train for Thanksgiving started to change their patterns when the national rail passenger agency began requiring reservations for all Thanksgiving weekend trains from Wednesday through Sunday. He said Tuesday and Monday have now become super-busy as well.

In Thanksgiving week, Amtrak carries 30 percent more passengers than in an average week, with 600,000 expected this year. Amtrak is adding more than 60 trains on the Northeast Corridor for the week.

Airlines also report a spreading out of the Thanksgiving rush, although the day before and the Sunday after Thanksgiving remain the busiest days of the year.

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