Denver Broncos vs. Seattle Seahawks, Feb. 2, 2014

Mass Transit Strains Under Super Bowl Crowds

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    NEWSLETTERS

    There was no word of serious injuries, but people were squeezed together in an enclosed stairwell in front of airport-style security machines that did not seem to be equipped to handle the crowd volume.

    A record number of football fans used New Jersey Transit to get to the Super Bowl Sunday, causing delays and uncomfortable conditions both to and from MetLife Stadium.

    More than 28,000 fans rode the rails from Secaucus Junction to MetLife Stadium Sunday afternoon with 32,900 riding from the stadium after the game. Those numbers are well above projections and shatter a previous ridership record of 22,000 set at a 2009 U2 concert.

    Passengers began crowding into the Secaucus Junction station about 11 a.m. for the game, NJ Transit spokeswoman Nancy Snyder said. By mid-afternoon, there was a crush of uncomfortable, sweaty passengers waiting to go through airport-style security machines before heading to the stadium.

    Initial fan calls of "Seahawks" and "Broncos" gave way to angry shouts of "New Jersey, your Super Bowl sucks!" as congestion increased.

    After the game, fans again converged on the rail station for the return trip, clogging the platform as trains loaded and left when full. NJ Transit opened a second platform to accommodate the crowds. At MetLife Stadium, an announcement on the scoreboard asked fans to please stay in the stadium due to congestion.

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    About two hours after the game ended, a state trooper announced that 50 buses would shuttle fans to the Port Authority terminal in New York City. Fans broke out into cheers and ran toward the buses upon hearing the announcement.

    There have been no reports of serious injuries in the crowding.

    At an average Giants or Jets game, about 8,000 people take the trains.

    There was heightened security in anticipation of the extra riders. Despite no specific terror threats against the Super Bowl, federal and local authorities stepped up checks throughout the area.

    Fans also drove to the game. Parking passes cost $150 and vehicles were subject to security scans. Grills weren't allowed for tailgating, but fans were allowed to bring food and drinks.

    Air travelers with tickets to the game also rode a rail line from Newark International Airport to MetLife Stadium. The TSA added 200 screeners at the airport to handle the larger volume of travelers.

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