Home New Jersey Transit In Year 2, Meadowlands train ridership up 50%

In Year 2, Meadowlands train ridership up 50%

by Benjamin Kabak

The New Jersey Transit station at the Meadowlands has proven to be popular. (Rendering from 2007)

Now that football fans have had a year to get used to the idea of taking the train to the Meadowlands and New Jersey Transit has had a year to improve service, ridership is on the rise. As The Record reported this week, NJ Transit says ridership has increased by 50 percent for the NFL season. Reports John Brennan:

The Jets — with a boost from two “Monday Night Football” games — have 70 percent more fans riding the rails than in 2009, NJ Transit spokeswoman Courtney Carroll said. On Jets game days, there have been about 21,000 trips made this year — the equivalent of 10,500 fans making a round trip — compared with 6,000 such fans last year.

Giants fans are making about 26 percent more trips — about 16,000, or the equivalent of 8,000 round trips. That means that more than 10 percent of fans overall at New Meadowlands Stadium football games are taking the train.

“The schedule is about the same as last year, but we are doing things differently on the operations side to improve the flow,” Carroll said. “We’ve had a year to learn and grow with the service, to see what works.”

Anything to ease the flow of cars into and out of the Meadowlands is a welcome change, but I’m curious to hear more about how NJ Transit has improved their planning.

Last year, for a Bruce Springsteen concert, I took the train to the Meadowlands, and although the trip to the show was smooth, the trip home was anything but. People bumrushed the train station, and after the initial trains left, we had to wait an unreasonable amount of time for the next to leave. Unlike the subway after, say, a game at Yankee Stadium, Transit doesn’t have a steady flow of trains from the Meadowlands to Secaucus Junction.

Right now, the trains are running only around 20 times a year for football games and concerts. Originally, the new Meadowlands stop was supposed to service the Xanadu shopping and entertainment complex, but the mall, slated for a 2011 completion date, may not open until 2014 or beyond.

Anyway, it’s hard to believe that even 10 percent of fans heading to the New Meadowlands Stadium take the train as that complex had become so identified with automobile traffic. That the ridership is growing is proof that, if you build it, they will ride.

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JC Frank November 10, 2010 - 3:49 pm

This year there is a holding pen area right at the bottom on the platform in the front. Only when the train comes in that they let people on the platform, and once on the platform they only open doors on the far end of the train first, fill up one car, move to the next. Once that is done they fill up the pen again. Much smoother.

Mad Park November 10, 2010 - 3:53 pm

If my memory serves me, the Montreal Metro figured out the holding pen and one car at a time thing 43 years ago at Expo 67. The Old Ways are often the best ways.

Ray November 10, 2010 - 6:46 pm

Surely increased parking rates are encouraging ridership.

Biebs November 11, 2010 - 8:05 am

Maybe a little. But for a lot of people who go to the games from Manhattan, it’s just an easier option. The old bus route was good for getting to games, but a total disaster getting back. I do hope they start getting more trains after the games though. That has been a real issue so far.

Streetsblog New York City » Today’s Headlines November 11, 2010 - 9:08 am

[…] Ridership to the Meadowlands Up 50 Percent in Year Two (2nd Ave Sagas) […]

Dan November 11, 2010 - 9:41 am

I’ve been impressed by the trains this year.

I’ve gone to two games, and I’ve gotten on in about twenty minutes each time.

Much faster than the buses to the Port Authority, which took forever to load–it took about an hour to get on.

Andrew D. Smith November 11, 2010 - 10:11 am

I’d also say the service is much improved in terms of line management and departure frequency. My only problem was train speed on the way home. It took 45 minutes to traverse the less than 10 miles between the Meadowlands and Hoboken because the train was, quite literally, moving slower than I could jog. I don’t know if that’s typical of if something was wrong with the tracks that night but it was really, really frustrating and would make me more likely to drive next time.

John November 12, 2010 - 2:19 pm

What are they going to do with all the extra parking spaces?


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