A week ago, at this very hour, tens of thousands of football fans were awaiting relief. They were jam-packed outside of Met Life Stadium, hoping that some New Jersey Transit train would show up to bring them to Secaucus Junction where they could wait for another train to get them to Penn Station. Despite New Jersey Transit’s later proclamation of a great night, it was a mess, and both New Jersey lawmakers and the National Football League have vowed to conduct investigations into the situation.
It will be some time before the results of yet another investigation into New Jersey Transit’s poor operations procedures are available, but already, stories are leaking out of something between managerial negligence and managerial incompetence. Shocking, I know, but bear with me. Here’s the latest from the Daily News: New Jersey Transit had 100 buses ready to deploy but no one thought to call upon them. Pete Donohue reports:
While tens of thousands of Super Bowl attendees waited for hours to cram into trains after the game Sunday, at least 100 New Jersey Transit buses were on standby about 6 miles away but were never deployed. “They were lined up one after the other,” a source familiar with Super Bowl transportation plans and game day operations said of the buses. “They were staged and ready to go.”
But for some reason, no one called in NJ Transit’s cavalry of commuter coaches as legions of frustrated fans inched out of MetLife Stadium and waited in horrendously long lines for shuttle trains bound for NJ Transit’s Secaucus Junction station…
One source told the Daily News that in order to have staff available, drivers were called in on overtime and NJ Transit canceled vacation days for some workers. Yet despite the planning, no one ordered the rollout of what could have been a solution to the embarrassing postgame mass transit mess. The fleet of buses was viewed merely as a contingency plan in case problems arose at the Secaucus station, sources said. NJ Transit did send about 20 buses to the stadium from a nearby highway rest area, and they arrived not long after the game ended.
I don’t have too much to add here. Snarky comments don’t do this justice. It is, rather, yet another example of New Jersey Transit’s inability to operate a transit system into and out of some of the most densely populated areas of the country and some of the areas that most rely upon transit. Rolling out the buses wouldn’t have solved the problem for all 29,000 people, but such a measure would have been a no-brainer to attempt to tackle the problem.
Ultimately, still, everyone at New Jersey Transit who was employed before the Super Bowl still has his or her job just like all of those upper-level executives were completely botched the agency’s response to Sandy still have their jobs. There is no accountability at New Jersey Transit, and this carelessness seems to run all the way up to Trenton where Gov. Chris Christie said he was “really proud of the work” New Jersey Transit did during the Super Bowl. As hard as it is to believe sometimes, New Jersey Transit is a vital part of the network that ensures congestion in New York City and its environs is kept to a minimum. It deserves better than this.