KIYC: Did NJ Transit fumble the Super Bowl?
SECAUCUS - Some very frustrated fans say New Jersey Transit fumbled the ball when it came to getting people to and from the first “Mass Transit Super Bowl,” but the agency’s executive director, James Weinstein, tells Kane In Your Corner that “82,000 people can’t leave one place at one time and avoid congestion.”
NJ Transit transported more than 32,000 people by train and thousands more by bus and there was serious glitches reported both coming and going to the game. Fans leaving MetLife Stadium overwhelmed New Jersey Transit’s train capacity. The scoreboard flashed messages asking people to remain inside the stadium and the last train did not leave the station until nearly 1 a.m., almost three hours after the game ended.
Weinstein says NJ Transit deployed 100 buses to help deal with the overflow but notes the buses only held 50 passengers apiece. Some fans said they thought the agency should have used more buses and deployed them sooner.
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On the way to the game, three people needed medical attention after they were overcome by heat in the jam-packed NJ Transit transfer station in Secaucus. Several fans tell News 12 New Jersey they saw people fainting. Patrick Walsh, a Broncos fan, says “It was so hot. It was boiling. I mean, people were stripping off their clothes. It’s ridiculous.”
NJ Transit denies that anyone fainted but admits three people were treated by emergency medical personnel. “They provided these people with a bottle of water and some fresh air,” Weinstein says.
However, Patrick Abst, a Seahawks fan who tweeted photos from the scene, tells Kane In Your Corner that things were more serious than that. “I don’t know if they actually lost consciousness…but they did collapse. And one of them was right by me,” he says.
Weinstein says the pregame problems in Secaucus were caused by fans showing up more than three hours before the first trains were scheduled to leave. He says NJ Transit could not allow the trains to leave sooner because all passengers had to be screened and the screeners were not in place yet.
For video of NJ Transit addressing Super Bowl issues, watch the clips to the left or click News 12 Extra on Optimum TV channel 612.