Super Bowl train jam resulted from unused parking, bus passes


Three years after the North Texas Super Bowl was marred by a lack of seats inside the stadium, the lingering memories of Super Bowl XLVIII will entail not enough seats on the trains that took fans to and from MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford.

Reasons for the unanticipated demand are emerging, via the Bergen Record.  Based on information supplied by the NFL, authorities expected 16,000 fans to use the NJ Transit rail spur to get to and from the game; ultimately, 33,000 showed up.

The league’s information was based on the sale of parking passes and bus permits.  The problem?  A whopping 300 charter bus permits, which were sold for $350 each, weren’t used.  With up to 50 fans expected per bus, that’s up to 15,000 people who didn’t travel to the game via bus.

Likewise, roughly 2,000 parking passes bought at $150 a pop weren’t used.  With a league estimate of three people on average per car, that’s another 6,000 who didn’t get to the game in the way the NFL had anticipated.  Fan participation also was low in the league’s Fan Express, which offered a ride to and from the game for $51.

Unlike the Dallas Super Bowl seating fiasco, the league is unlikely to face litigation over the overwhelming of the train service.  Regardless, it’s an issue that demands better planning and communication if/when New York/New Jersey bids for the ability to host another Super Bowl.