ACY Expansion

Travelers check in at the Spirit ticket counter on their way to Florida at the Atlantic City International Airport, in Egg Harbor Township, which underwent a $27m expansion project, Wednesday Nov. 21, 2012.

Vernon Ogrodnek

On Wednesday night at Absecon Station, dozens of travelers exited the NJ Transit train from Philadelphia. Many carried luggage and rushed to embrace family members in idling cars in the parking lot.

More than 1 million New Jersey residents are expected to drive to their Thanksgiving destination, the busiest travel day of the year, according to the American Automobile Association, or AAA.

The number of New Jersey residents traveling is expected to remain the same as in 2011, although fewer were driving or flying while more, nearly 11 percent more, were taking public transportation since last year, according to AAA.

Temple University juniors Amy Evans, of the Smithville section of Galloway Township, and Carly Bohman, of Canada, caught the train out of 30th Street Station in Philadelphia. Carrying bags of clothing, they scanned the parking lot for Evans’ ride. Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving in October, so Bohman tags along at Evans’ family’s Thanksgiving every year.

“This is my first time coming home since the year started,” Evans said. “I’m happy to be home.”

Another Temple University junior, Corrina Laffie, of Galloway, transferred to the NJ Transit train from the PATCO line in Lindenwold. She traveled with her two roommates, who are from Texas and Indonesia. Laffie, too, is hosting her friends at her family’s Thanksgiving. She said she noticed an increase in passengers this year.

“It’s really packed on the train,” she said. “I usually come home by myself, but this time it felt faster because I have my friends with me.”

Traffic was relatively calm Wednesday in South Jersey. No major traffic jams were reported as of 5 p.m., and Atlantic City International Airport did not experience a major influx of passengers, according to Kevin Rehmann, of the South Jersey Transportation Authority.

“All the flights are full that I know of, and there’s no delays, but we just don’t experience the big crush of travelers that other airports have,” he said. “That could be the destinations available; if you’re going to Myrtle Beach or one of the Florida cities, that’s great. But we have not seen an increase of additional seats or additional flights from the airlines.”

Last year, about 500,000 vehicles traveled on the Atlantic City Expressway between Wednesday and Sunday night during the week of Thanksgiving, Rehmann said.

“We have not experienced any delays,” he said. “And we’re hoping to do at least that much this year, or maybe more. Gas prices are down a little bit. We’re clear and dry and open for business.”

No major accidents or traffic jams were reported by 511NJ.

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