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MTA Is the Best Way to Travel During Four-Day Thanksgiving Weekend

Updated November 17, 2021 11:30 a.m.

MTA Launches Extra Early and Getaway Service on LIRR & Metro-North on Wednesday Nov. 24

Q70 Select Bus Service to LaGuardia Airport Free Nov. 23-28

MTA Bridges and Tunnels Will Suspend Maintenance at Nine Crossings to Facilitate Increased Travel 


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 2021 Thanksgiving weekend. Trains and buses across the MTA system will operate on special schedules on Wednesday, Nov. 24, through Sunday, Nov. 28 – with lots of extra railroad service on Wednesday afternoon – to accommodate the unique travel demands of Thanksgiving weekend. 

As previously announced, the LIRR and Metro-North will offer tickets at off-peak prices at all times through the rest of 2021. 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 Tuesday, Nov. 23, to Sunday, Nov. 28. 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. 

MTA Bridges and Tunnels will suspend temporary daytime lane closures related to routine maintenance and construction work beginning 6 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 24, through the end of the morning rush on Monday, Nov. 29 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. 

Wednesday, Nov. 24: 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 Rockaway, Montauk and Port Washington Branches. Times are shown in the current timetables and are available by using the LIRR TrainTime app and MTA.info trip planning tools. 
  • Metro-North will operate a regular weekday service augmented with 10 additional early-getaway trains (3 Hudson Line, 2 Harlem Line and 5 New Haven Line) departing GCT between 12:05-3:05 p.m. Times are shown in the current timetables and are available by using the LIRR TrainTime app and MTA.info 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 Port Jervis Line, an early-getaway train departs Hoboken at 2:41 p.m., stops at Secaucus Junction, Ramsey/Route 17, Suffern and all stops in New York State to Port Jervis, arriving at 4:56 p.m. 
  • On the Pascack Valley Line, the traditional early-getaway train that previously operated on Fridays and the day before holidays is now offered as regular weekday train. It departs Hoboken at 3 p.m., stopping at Secaucus Junction, makes eight stops in New Jersey, Pearl River, Nanuet and arrives at Spring Valley at 4:06 p.m. 
  • 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. 24, 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. 25: 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). 

Metro-North will provide additional inbound morning service for customers going to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. There will also be expanded outbound service starting in the late morning and continuing until mid-afternoon for customers traveling to suburban destinations. Finally, there will be expanded evening service for customers returning to New York City. 

West of Hudson Service

  • The Port Jervis Line operates a weekend schedule with one extra round-trip train to accommodate parade-goers.
  • An eastbound train departs Port Jervis at 6:18 a.m., makes all stops to Suffern, then express to Secaucus Junction and Hoboken, arriving at 8:30 a.m.
  • A westbound train departs Hoboken at 12:20 p.m., stops at Secaucus Junction and then operates express to Suffern and all stops to Port Jervis, arriving at 2:33 p.m.
  • The Pascack Valley Line operates a normal weekend service. 

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 BXM8 City Island service, BM1 Downtown Only/Midtown Only service (service operates to/from Midtown via Downtown), BM2 Downtown Only/Midtown Only service (service operates to/from Midtown via Downtown), BM3 Downtown Only/Midtown Only service (service operates to/from Midtown via Downtown), BM4 Downtown Only/Midtown Only service (service operates to/from Midtown via Downtown), M1 LTD, M4 LTD, Q4 LTD, Q5 LTD, Q6 LTD, Q17 LTD, Q25 LTD, Q27 LTD, Q36 LTD, Q43 LTD, Q46 LTD, Q65 LTD, Q83 LTD, Q85 LTD, QM2 Queens-bound Super Express, QM5 Queens-bound Super Express, QM8 Queens-bound Super Express, QM20 Queens-bound Super Express, S81, S84, S86, S91, S92, S94, S96, S98, SIM4X, SIM8X. 

The 79th Street Transverse Road will be closed from noon Wednesday, Nov. 24, to noon Thursday, Nov. 25, and buses will not be permitted to cross during this time. Details will be provided at new.mta.info under “Service Status.” 

Black Friday, Nov. 26

On Black Friday, Nov. 26, 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 mta.info 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. 
  • 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.
  • On Black Friday, Nov. 26, most subway lines will operate on regular weekday schedules.
  • The  will only operate between Jamaica-179 St and Kings Hwy and will be replaced by free shuttle buses between Kings Hwy and Coney Island. 

Metro-North will operate an expanded Saturday schedule with extra service in the traditional AM and PM peak periods. 

West of Hudson: The Port Jervis Line will operate a normal weekend schedule, with three additional trains and the Pascack Valley Line will operate a normal weekend service. 

Saturday, Nov. 27, and Sunday, Nov. 28

New York City Transit, the LIRR and Metro-North, including West of Hudson service, will operate on regular weekend schedules. For real-time service updates and information, rail commuters and motorists can use the following options: 

  • Check mta.info or the LIRR TrainTime app for updates, including modified emergency schedules.
  • Follow @MTA and the MTA’s operating agencies on Twitter. Sign up for text message or email alerts at mymtaalerts.com

For customers who are located at stations, the MTA will post the latest service updates on digital signs at station platforms and will make audio announcements over public address systems, and on-board announcements made by train crews.

For those who prefer the telephone, information is available from the Metro-North’s Customer Service Center by calling 511, the New York State Travel Information Line. For customers calling from Connecticut, the number is: 877-690-5114. Those who are deaf or hard of hearing can use their preferred service provider for the free 711 relay to reach the MTA at 511.