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Planes, trains and automobiles: busy Thanksgiving travel weekend

Despite the lower gas prices, it looks like fewer folks will be visiting Grandma for pumpkin pie this holiday weekend.  Most drivers will pay the cheapest gas prices for the Thanksgiving holiday since 2010.  But Connecticut AAA spokeswoman Fran Mayko says the sluggish economic recovery is putting a crimp in some people's plans for this weekend.


AAA projecting a 1.5 percent decrease in the number of people traveling between today and Sunday.  About one-third of travellers are expected to return Sunday; while 24-percent plan to be home Monday or later. 


Of the overall 43.4 million travelers, 7% or 3.1 million will travel by air, a 3.7% decline; and the remaining 3%  or 1.4 million will take some other mode of transportation including rail, bus or cruise ship.


Metro North is trying to make getting away for the weekend a little easier.  From Thursday through Sunday, there will be only off-peak fares.  Today, Metro-North spokeswoman Marjorie Anders says they will operate 20 extra afternoon trains departing Grand Central between noon and 4:10 pm. 


On Thanksgiving Day, Metro-North will provide additional inbound morning service for customers going to the Parade. There is also expanded outbound service for those returning home and also expanded evening service for customers returning to New York City.  Metro-North expects to carry more than 100,000 customers on Thanksgiving Day, making it the busiest holiday of the year for them.


On Friday there are fewer commuters, but more sightseers so Metro-North will run fewer morning rush hour trains and more midday trains.  Regular Saturday and Sunday schedules are in effect, but with extra trains.


Sobriety checkpoints, roving DUI patrols and safety spot checks are all part of the stepped up enforcement by State Police this long holiday weekend.  Spokesman Lt Paul Vance says Troopers will patrol all roads and highways across Connecticut and will focus on drunk drivers while targeting aggressive and unsafe drivers.


Vance is hoping for a safer Thanksgiving weekend.  Last year there were fatalities from accidents.  Last Thanksgiving Weekend, state police charge 1,600 drivers for speeding, issued more than 3,000 hazardous moving violations and made 62 DUI arrests.


Vance says young people, especially college students returning home, should be reminded of the rules of alcohol consumption and drinking and driving.

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