RDU INTERNATIONAL — The holiday travel season is taking off as millions of people across the country head home for Thanksgiving
In the Triangle, an empty parking space is hard to come by in the parking lots at Raleigh-Durham International Airport.
By early afternoon, park and ride lots 1, 2 and 3 were packed with cars and getting more crowded by the hour.
"Terminal parking was closed to daily parking. It had a sign that read 'daily parking'. I didn't even give it a shot. I just came straight to park and ride," said traveler David Ott.
The airport has rented two extra buses to take passengers from the park and ride lots to the terminals. Twelve buses in all will be shuttling travelers back and forth.
Authorities say the buses will get travelers to terminals within 15 minutes.
"I understand that parking at the airport was pretty crowded today, so I took the chance to get to the first park and ride lot I could find," said traveler Elroy Lewis.
Part of this year's crunch is due to construction on a new parking deck; RDU lost 800 parking spaces as a result of the construction.
Officials opened an improved park and ride lot 4 Tuesday to help accommodate the holiday crowds.
RDU Spokesperson Mike Blanton says "we have the capacity for 4,500 cars there and we've graded it. We put in about a half-million dollars worth of gravel. We put in additional lighting to make people feel a little safer at night when they're parking in that lot."
There are a few parking spaces left in park and ride lots 1, 2, and 3, but they are filling up fast. There's room for another 3,000 cars in park and ride lot 4.