More cars were expected on the roads this past Thanksgiving compared to 2008, given a slightly better economy and lower gas prices. But, public transit ridership was up, at least in the New York Metro area. First, though, look a beautiful picture of traffic in the New York area courtesy the Associated Press:

From spokeswoman Marjorie Anders:

“Metro-North achieved two ridership records this past weekend:  the most people traveling out of New York from noon to 8 p.m. on the day before Thanksgiving and the most people carried on Thanksgiving Day during the three periods we traditionally count.

On the Wednesday  before Thanksgiving, Metro-North carried more than 96,000 outbound customers, up 3% from 2011 levels.

Thanksgiving Day was the busiest Thanksgiving in Metro-North’s history, carrying almost 83,000 customers in the three periods when the railroad actually counts passengers: from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. inbound (parade goers), from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. inbound (returning residents) and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. outbound (going to visit friends and relatives.

The next busiest Thanksgiving was last year when Metro-North carried 81,100 people in the same three time periods.

This year the parade crowd (Inbound 7 a.m. to 11 a.m.) was 2% below last year. But the other two markets were up so much so that 83,000 set a new record. From 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. the inbound count was up 6% over the previous year and the outbound count from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. was up 2%.

On the  Friday after Thanksgiving, during the inbound period  from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. when Black Friday Shoppers traditionally arrive, ridership was flat vs. last year.

The weekend was lower than 2011.   Saturday was down 17% due to extremely cold and windy cold weather and Sunday results were mixed with inbound ridership up 3%, while outbound ridership was down 7% and the day was 2% lower than last year.

Overall, Metro-North’s four-day holiday ridership was down 3% vs. 2011 Wednesday  through Sunday.”

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