Travelers Finding Way Home For Holiday

By JOHN SEEWER, Associated Press Writer

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) - With the nation's economy and psyche both shaken, people chose to travel by bus, train and car the day before Thanksgiving.

They found long lines to board buses and trains in Ohio but lower gasoline prices.

"Our train was packed, and every seat was taken," said Dan Morrisson, 34, who traveled from New York City to Toledo on an overnight train that arrived Wednesday morning.

Morrisson, wearing a Yankees cap, said it was his first trip on a train, but it wasn't because he was afraid to fly.

"We just wanted to avoid the hassle of the airports," he said. "This was a nice way to travel."

Passengers stood in a line 50-people long waiting to get a bus to New York at the Greyhound station in Cleveland.

Beatrice Beard of Cleveland said because of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks she chose to travel by bus this year to visit her uncle in Newark, N.J.

"I'm not going to get back on a plane right now," she said. "Those planes just keep crashing."

Adrean Griffin of Columbus has traveled by bus the last three years during the holidays. She said she was concerned about getting a seat.

"Since the terrorist attacks it is extra crowded on these buses," she said.

The American Automobile Association predicted 34.6 million Americans would travel at least 50 miles from home during the Thanksgiving holiday, a 6 percent drop from last year.

A record 87 percent are expected to drive, the AAA said.

A gallon of gas hovers just above $1 in many places, which is about 30 cents lower than a year ago. Nationwide, the average retail gas price is $1.17 a gallon.

Toledo's Amtrak station was unusually crowded Wednesday morning with families and college students.

Travelers waiting for a delayed train to Chicago said they opted for the railroad because it was cheaper. Only a few said they were nervous about getting on a plane.

"I do feel a little safer than on an airplane," said Marie Pacer, who was going to visit her sister in Wisconsin. "I'm still deciding whether I want to fly."

Daniel Cohen, who was riding the train to visit his girlfriend in Chicago, said he was surprised there wasn't extra security noticeable inside the train station.

A pile of bags sat unattended near the gate, and there weren't any security guards visible in the passenger waiting area.

"It's really nothing," said Cohen, a sophomore at the University of Toledo. "You just walk right on and they don't check your bags."

A cheaper ticket is why he decided to take the train.

"I'd much rather fly," he said.

Security guards are not routinely posted at the train station.

However, some passengers said they had to pick up their tickets the day before they traveled and had to show a picture ID, which they had not been required to do in the past.

(Copyright 2001 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)