New York and New Jersey mass-transit agencies will add service, offer special deals and suspend work ahead of the 2014 Super Bowl, the first one that relies largely on public transportation to get fans to and from the stadium.
The Feb. 2 championship game at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, is projected to bring 400,000 visitors to the New York City region. Seventy percent of the 80,000 game attendees are expected to arrive by train or bus, and more will be visiting the area for events such as the four-day Super Bowl Boulevard celebration in Manhattan, said Al Kelly, head of the National Football League’s host committee.
“With hosting duties split between two states, physically separated by a river, the geographic footprint of Super Bowl XLVIII is unlike any other in the game’s history,” Kelly said yesterday in a statement.
New York and New Jersey are both trying to get a bite of the $550 million predicted to flow into the economy from Super Bowl-related activity. They also both are taking steps to ease transportation to and from the game and minimize complaints from people who visit the region.
The New York Giants and New York Jets both play at MetLife Stadium, an 82,500-seat, open-air arena in New Jersey’s Meadowlands, a swampy region known for its sports arena and garbage dumps. The $1.6 billion stadium, which replaced the 34-year-old venue across the street, opened in 2010 across the Hudson River from Manhattan.
Though MetLife has 28,000 parking spaces, only 13,000 will be available on game day to accommodate media satellite trucks. About 1,600 of those spots will be occupied by shuttle buses, Kelly said yesterday during a briefing on transit plans at the Secaucus Junction train station, which is expected to be a major hub the week of the game.
The NFL plans to offer a $51 “Super Fan Express” ticket, guaranteeing attendees a ride to and from the game from one of nine stops -- six in New York and three in New Jersey.
New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority is printing 1 million commemorative Metro Cards for the event. New Jersey Transit is offering a $50 “Super Pass” that provides unlimited rides between Jan. 27 and Feb. 3. Guests can use that pass for rail transit to the game.
Kelly said dropoffs at the stadium won’t be allowed, eliminating taxis and livery cars as an option. The NFL also has banned people from walking to the game, and said all vehicles that enter the sports complex must remain there for the duration.
NJ Transit will add cars and more trains linking Secaucus Junction to its stop at MetLife, a 12-minute trip, said James Weinstein, the agency’s executive director.
The MTA will add service on some lines and increase the frequency of Long Island Railroad and Metro-North trains. All transit agencies, as well as the New Jersey Department of Transportation, said they plan to suspend any construction projects that would impact game travel.
Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, an environmental group, said the region depends too heavily on a patchwork of transit agencies, and coordinating the various routes and schedules will be difficult.
“With security and having the Super Bowl in the middle of the Meadowlands, this will lead to gridlock and a traffic nightmare,” Tittel said in a statement. “Bringing people in by buses and trains will not work because our system is not designed for this.”