Press Release Article


Date: Dec 19, 2002
Press Release Number: 141-2002

Forecasting a 15.4-percent increase in air passenger volumes during this year’s 16-day Christmas/New Year’s holiday travel period, the Port Authority is fully prepared to handle high numbers of travelers at John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International and LaGuardia airports. The bistate agency is also gearing up for heavy passenger volumes at its bridges and tunnels, bus terminals, and PATH rapid transit system.

“The holiday season is always one of the busiest travel times of the year, and this year will be significantly busier than last,” said Ernesto Butcher, the Port Authority’s Chief Operating Officer. “The Port Authority will do everything it can to assist customers using our airports, tunnels, bridges and PATH system. Safety and security continues to be our first priority, and we urge travelers to allow extra time this holiday season to get to their destinations, in order to accommodate increased security and the expected heavy traffic at all our facilities.”

Approximately 3.37 million holiday travelers are expected to use the three airports during the 16-day extended holiday travel from Saturday, December 21, through Sunday, January 5, 2003, a rise of 15.4 percent. Last year’s total for the same period at the three airports was 2.92 million. “The increase reflects the continuing recovery in the nation’s airline industry following September 11, 2001,” Mr. Butcher said.

“Airport visitors are asked to remember that vehicles cannot be left unattended in front of the passenger terminals,” Mr. Butcher added. “Any such vehicles will be subject to immediate towing. And, as usual, it’s a good idea for airport customers to check with their airlines prior to leaving for the airport.” Travelers can visit the Port Authority’s Web site at to get travel tips, directions, maps and airline contact information. The federal Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Web site,, offers detailed, up-to-date advice on security procedures designed to save time when going through security checkpoints.

Parking lots and garages at Newark Liberty International Airport are expected to fill early, despite the addition this year of 3,500 new parking spaces. “Fortunately,” Mr. Butcher said, “more passengers than ever before are opting to use the new AirTrain Newark to get to and from the airport.” The airport rail link recently set a new record of 8,311 riders in one day, on the Wednesday before this year’s Thanksgiving holiday.

An estimated 5.3 million eastbound vehicles will use the Port Authority\'s four bridges and two tunnels during the 16-day holiday travel period from December 21 through January 5. More than 300,000 travelers are expected to use the crossings on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, about the same number as last year.

Construction at the George Washington Bridge will be suspended from December 20 at noon until January 2 at 9 a.m. At the Lincoln Tunnel, construction was suspended on December 15; the suspension will continue until January 6 at 11 p.m. At the Holland Tunnel, construction will be suspended on December 20 at 5 a.m. until January 5 at 11 p.m. Construction at the three Staten Island Bridges will be suspended from December 23 at 3 p.m. to December 26 at 7 a.m., and then again from December 30 at 3 p.m. until January 2 at 7 a.m. The Port Authority Bus Terminal also will have extra personnel on hand to assist holiday travelers.

The 6-10 a.m. ban on single occupancy vehicles at the Holland Tunnel will be lifted on Christmas Day and New Year\'s Day.

PATH will operate normal weekday schedules on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. Additional trains will be operated if needed on the 33rd-Hoboken and 33rd-Newark routes to accommodate commuters who leave work early. To accommodate New Year’s Eve travelers heading to Times Square, PATH will operate regular service until 11:30 p.m. After 11:30 p.m., Newark-33rd Street via Hoboken service will operate every 10 minutes until 4 a.m., with more frequent service from 33rd Street to Newark via Hoboken to serve New Year’s revelers leaving Times Square. PATH reminds New Year’s Eve passengers that consuming food and beverages on the train is not permitted.

On Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, PATH will operate on a Sunday schedule. Between 9 a.m. and 7:30 p.m., trains on the Newark-Hoboken, Journal Square to 33rd Street and Hoboken-33rd Street routes will operate every 15 minutes. Overnight, trains on the Newark-33rd Street via Hoboken route will operate every 30 minutes.

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