Local Travelers Leave the Driving to Others

By: Matt Holmes Email
By: Matt Holmes Email

Wednesday November 21, 2007

In addition to millions driving this holiday weekend, other people are letting someone else handle the transportation. Local train stations, bus stations and airports are packed with holiday travelers.

More than 20 extra trains couldn't satisfy all the demand from Amtrak customers along the east coast corridor Wednesday.

"Today is pretty much sold out, been sold out in advance for several weeks," explained Charlottesville Amtrak agent William Thomas. "There's a few seats available tomorrow and Friday and then filled up through the first of next week."

Thomas has worked for Amtrak for 32 years and says this Thanksgiving has been no better and no worse for customers than holidays past.

Some would beg to differ.

"I mean they said the train was supposed to come at 2:47, but now they're saying 5 o'clock or later, so who knows?" traveler Erik Delosruies told us Wednesday afternoon. Delosruies is a first-year at UVa. trying to get home to New Jersey to spend the holiday with family and friends.

A few blocks down at the Greyhound station, officials said they hadn't had any cancellations Wednesday and delays were topping out at around a half-hour.

North of town, the Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport ran smoothly, but passengers were bracing themselves for what lay ahead at connecting terminals.

"There's going to be cancellations, or flights are going to be overbooked," predicted UVa. fourth-year Chris Hildner. "I'm trying to get here as early as possible to make sure that doesn't happen."

The airport added no extra flights, but airport employees said the flights coming in and out Wednesday were just about jam-packed.

And while many are looking forward to time with friends and family this Thanksgiving, others just want to be back by Saturday for the big Virginia-Virginia Tech game.

"I'm graduating this spring," said Hildner, who will fly back from his home in Boston on Friday. "I feel that it's necessary to be here for my last home game. So I'm really excited."

The real silver lining was the near-perfect weather throughout the mid-Atlantic region. No weather-related delays meant smoother travel and that's not something you can always say on Thanksgiving.

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