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mbta-gm-ramirez-south-station-november-152017The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport), the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) and the MBTA spoke today at South Station about what to expect this holiday travel season and some travel tips to use during the nation’s busiest travel season. The roads and skies are expected to be crowded in the days leading up to and after the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday, November 23rd.

The Commonwealth’s roadways are expected to be very busy during the Thanksgiving travel period. If you plan on driving, consider traveling at off-peak hours such as early mornings or late evenings after 9 p.m. Traffic volumes will progressively increase throughout Tuesday and Wednesday, as well as Saturday and Sunday as travelers are returning home. Plan ahead and make informed choices by utilizing real-time technology tools like 511 or MassDOT’s GoTime app to view live traffic conditions to find the best route and timing of travel.

“The number of Thanksgiving travelers has continued to increase each year and we advise members of the public to plan their trips in advance to find the most appropriate mode, route, and time to travel and help decrease congestion and reach their destination in an efficient manner,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack. “We have more tools than ever for travelers to use and learn about traffic and road conditions such as visiting mass511.com, downloading our Go Time travel app, or calling 511 before heading out onto the roadways. We also encourage members of the public to consider public transportation if traveling to places such as Logan Airport and check www.mbta.com for updated transit schedules, and we wish everyone a safe and enjoyable holiday.”

A record 28.5 million people will fly on U.S. airlines between Friday, November 17th and Tuesday, November 28th, according to Airlines for America. The busiest travel day is expected to be Sunday, November 26th; but travelers should expect to see Logan busier than normal beginning this week.

“We want to do everything we can to ease the travel experience for everyone flying this holiday season,’’ said Massport CEO Thomas P. Glynn. “This week kicks off the busiest time of year at Logan and though we will have extra staff on hand to help out, we encourage everyone to plan ahead to help make their time travelling as smooth as possible.”

As always, Massport encourages travelers to check with their airlines before heading to the airport for the most updated flight status and travel information. Parking is expected to be around capacity during the Thanksgiving travel period and travelers are urged to use any of the multiple options for public transportation to get to the airport and other destinations.  Logan Express serves five locations including Peabody, Framingham, Woburn, Braintree and Back Bay.

For anyone traveling by air during the Thanksgiving holiday, you may continue to use any documents you have used recently to board airplanes.  Massachusetts residents will not need a REAL ID credential for air travel until October 2020.  In addition, Massachusetts residents with a valid U.S. passport or passport card never need a REAL ID.  Massachusetts residents may continue to use their driver’s licenses and identification cards to fly within the U.S. and to enter federal buildings until October 2020. On October 1, 2020, a valid U.S. or foreign passport, U.S. passport card, military ID, or a driver’s license which is REAL ID compliant, will be required to enter U.S. government buildings and to board flights within the U.S.  The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles will begin to issue REAL ID compliant credentials March 26, 2018.  Anyone with questions, should visit REAL ID online.

To accommodate customers travelling to and from Logan Airport during the Thanksgiving travel period, the Silver Line 1 will add additional service through Monday, November 27th. As always, outbound service from Logan Airport to the South Boston Seaport District and South Station is free.

“To ensure convenient service to and from Logan Airport during the Thanksgiving holiday, the Silver Line will operate additional service during peak travel periods,” said MBTA General Manager Luis Ramírez. “Passengers are also encouraged to stay connected by checking schedules available online, following us on Twitter @MBTA and @MBTA_CR, and using the Transit app. We wish a safe and happy holiday for all passengers travelling within our system and beyond.”

 On Thanksgiving day, all MBTA modes, including The RIDE, will operate on a Sunday schedule, as will all Commuter Rail routes. The MBTA Blue Line provides subway service between Boston and Airport Station and Massport provides free shuttle service to and from all terminals; the airport rental car center and the MBTA Blue Line Station. There will be no MBTA ferry service on Thanksgiving Day. Water transportation is also available by water taxi companies providing on-call service to points throughout Downtown Boston from the Logan dock.

“As the holiday season approaches the commuter rail is ready to help passengers get a jump on holiday travel and connect visitors to the greater Boston region. In anticipation of extra ridership during one of the busiest travel times of the year we will be increasing the capacity on some of our key rush hour trains next Wednesday,” said David Scorey, General Manager and CEO of Keolis Commuter Services. “The commuter rail will operate on a Sunday schedule Thanksgiving Day and we would like to remind passengers that posted times are trains’ departure times”.

Travel tips from the different agencies include:

  • When possible, use public transportation instead of driving;
  • The MBTA subway, commuter rail and bus systems will operate on a Sunday schedule on Thanksgiving; check www.mbta.com for more info.
  • Download MassDOT’s Go Time travel app at www.MassDOTgotime.com.
  • Visit www.Mass511.com to view live cameras, route conditions, and traffic information.
  • Call 511 to learn about travel conditions before heading out onto the roadways.
  • Check and see if your airline has an app; these can provide helpful real-time alerts and tips throughout your journey.
  • Allow extra time to check in and get through security and always check their airline flight status before leaving for the airport;
  • Subscribe to get automated parking updates at www.massport.com/logan-airport/parking-information/;
  • If you have any questions about what is prohibited in your luggage, go to www.tsa.gov

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