Fans experienced severe delays along NJ Transit before and after Super Bowl XLVIII. (Matt Rourke/AP)
New Jersey governor Chris Christie may have another transportation-related controversy to worry about.
Before the game, reports indicated that "several" people traveling to Sunday's Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium collapsed while waiting at the Secaucus, N.J., train station, which was serving as the central hub for people taking mass transportation to the game. Problems also persisted after the game, with delays so bad that the announcer asked fans planning to take the train home to wait in the stadium to avoid further bottlenecks.
NJ Transit tweeted that nearly 30,000 fans rode public transportation to the game, which offered very limited parking. Bill Smith, the spokesman for NJ Transit, told USA Today that the previous record was 22,000 passengers for a U2 concert in 2009.
As early as 1 p.m. ET, some began tweeting about the lengthy wait at the small station, with estimates of one- to two-hour waits for a train.
According to AP, emergency workers had to push through to treat several people felled by overheating, as masses were overstuffed in small hallways and staircases. At times, the crowd chanted, "New Jersey, your Super Bowl sucks!"
The issues continued after the game, when the fans who arrived via NJ Transit attempted to return home. NJ.com reported that some fans spent "hours" attempting to leave MetLife Stadium.
"You can get out of any stadium in 45 minutes to an hour. We are at three hours just to get here," Terry Thon, of Denver, told NJ.com, of the waits to get to the train station at MetLife Stadium. "Ahead of him was another 45-minute wait to get on his next train, he said."
For what it's worth, I myself took the train from my apartment in Hoboken, N.J., to the game, transferring at Secaucus Junction. But while it was crowded, I only had to wait 20 minutes in Secaucus before getting on the next train. It wasn't ideal, but I hardly experienced the horror story others are reporting.
New Jersey has been sensitive in the weeks leading up to the game with virtually all of the attention being directed toward New York despite it taking place in New Jersey. After this, Christie -- dealing with increasing scrutiny over his role in the George Washington Bridge traffic scandal -- might regret his state asking for the extra attention.