More expected to drive for holiday travel
Lindsay Tomasic has a special place in her heart for Mount Airy, N.C., where her mother's family lives.
“That's my favorite place to go in the whole world,” said Tomasic, 18, of Ohio Township.
Tomasic was at a Jiffy Lube in Pine on Saturday morning getting a state inspection and emissions test for her mother's Jeep in preparation for their trip to Mount Airy on the day after Thanksgiving.
The Tomasics will be among 43.6 million Americans who AAA estimates will travel at least 50 miles from home during the five-day Thanksgiving travel period. That's up from 43.3 million for Thanksgiving 2011.
AAA projects 39.1 million travelers will drive this year, compared with 38.9 million in 2011.
Tight budgets and declines in airline seat availability and automobile gasoline prices will help spur more people to hit the road, experts said. The busiest travel days will be Wednesday and Sunday.
“Thanksgiving is typically a very family-focused holiday, so people want to spend time around the table with family,” said Ruth Nagy, managing director of travel operations for AAA's East Central Office in East Liberty.
AAA's projections are based on economic forecasting and traveler surveys conducted by IHS Global Insight, a research company based in Englewood, Colo.
Nationwide, gasoline is expected to average between $3.25 and $3.40 a gallon, Nagy said. As of Saturday, the national average price for regular gas was $3.422 per gallon, and the Pittsburgh area's price was $3.659, according to AAA's website.
Fewer people will fly — 3.14 million versus 3.2 million last year — because fewer seats will be available and the cost for a family to travel together can be prohibitive, Nagy said.
Passenger traffic at Pittsburgh International Airport is expected to decline by 3 to 4 percent because of fewer departing flights, spokeswoman JoAnn Jenny said.
Airlines for America, a Washington-based trade organization for airlines, projects an increase of 150,000 fliers nationwide, but its forecast covers a 12-day period starting Nov. 16. It expects nearly 24 million people will travel by plane.
It's unknown how the damage caused by superstorm Sandy two weeks ago will affect travel, but drivers should check the availability of routes before getting on the roads, Nagy said.
The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission expects the number of drivers on the turnpike this year will be about the same as last year's 2.6 million, spokesman Carl DeFebo Jr. said.
For Southwestern Pennsylvania, the three busiest toll plazas will be the Pittsburgh interchange, where 92,000 vehicles will exit the turnpike; Warrendale with 83,000 vehicles; and the Gateway Barrier to the Ohio Turnpike with 81,000 vehicles, he said.
“In addition, the stretch of toll road between New Stanton to Breezewood is expected to be especially congested with heavy volumes and possible delays on Sunday afternoon and early evening as folks are returning home and traveling to other destinations, including deer-hunting camp,” DeFebo said.
Discount bus company Megabus.com, for which Pittsburgh is one of seven hubs, expects ridership to increase by double digits over the number last year, spokesman Mike Alvich said. He declined to disclose specifics.
Last year, Megabus.com said it expected a 28 percent increase in riders in its Northeast and Midwest system compared with Thanksgiving travel in 2010, and a 70 percent increase over typical Wednesday-Thursday ridership.
Tory N. Parrish is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-5662 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Art Institute of Pittsburgh offers different kind of ‘Magic’ show
- Locke pitches 8 scoreless innings as Pirates edge Indians
- Butler County continues to experience population growth
- Change buildings, but don’t shortchange them
- Opera Theater’s Summerfest ranges from classics to world premiere
- Government contractor FCi Federal expands into Butler
- Cooking Class: Pork and Cabbage Potstickers at Everyday Noodles
- Natrona Heights man’s work helps lure purple martins back to Harrison Hills Park
- Road Trip! Destination: The Merritt Parkway, Conn.
- Cranberry Township Community Days schedule of events
- Raspberry-lemon curd makes tasty DIY gifts