NFL, transit agency review Super Bowl rail logjam

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 3, 2014 at 3:16 pm •  Published: February 3, 2014
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — The head of New Jersey's transit agency on Monday defended the response to delays for thousands of fans leaving the Super Bowl by train, as officials sought to understand how ridership estimates could have been so far off base.

About 33,000 people took the 7-mile ride between MetLife Stadium and the Secaucus rail transfer station, more than double the highest estimates made by organizers and transportation experts before the game. The overcrowding on the platform grew so severe immediately following the game that the stadium scoreboard flashed a sign asking fans to remain inside.

"I think we did an excellent job moving a lot of people to a major event," New Jersey Transit executive director James Weinstein said Monday. "When 82,500 people leave a place at the same time there's going be congestion. There was, and we got through that congestion in what I believe was a realistic time. It would have been nice if we could have done it faster, but we did it as quickly and as efficiently as we could do it."

Those words may come as small comfort for those who stood waiting for trains until well after midnight. The game ended around 10 p.m.

New York native Garrett Vanderbrink, 45, an engineer with Verizon, decided to wait and watch the line rather than get in it. "You either wait here or wait like cattle," he said.

Vanderbrink told The Associated Press that being a New York Giants fan prepared him for delays, but he blamed Sunday night's wait on a decreased number of parking spots, as mandated by security requirements.

"Thank god this was a blowout," he said, referring to the fact that many Denver Broncos left early as their team fell far behind in the Seattle Seahawks' 43-8 win. "Can you imagine if it was a tight game down to the last minute?"

Earlier in the day, trains were delayed temporarily at Secaucus as thousands of fans went through airport-style security screening. Six people were treated by emergency medical services at the station, most for heat-related conditions, according to Secaucus Mayor Michael Gonnelli. Two people who fell at the station were taken to a hospital but their injuries weren't believed to be serious, he said.

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