Super Bowl XLVIII Transportation Strategy Leans Heavily On Mass Transit
Leaders of the N.Y./N.J. Super Bowl Host Committee and local transit execs yesterday outlined a far-ranging transit plan for the Feb. 2 game, which is being dubbed the first mass transit Super Bowl. Fewer than 13,000 parking spots are available, half the normal amount at MetLife Stadium, which seats 82,500. Car service and taxi drop-offs also will be significantly limited, with those vehicles required to wait the entire game for the people they drop off. Instead, most people are expected to arrive via rail, buses or high-occupancy vehicles. Tailgating, a MetLife Stadium staple, will be seriously curtailed, if not outright eliminated. Speaking at a rail station in Secaucus, N.J., where many fans will transfer to the MetLife rail link, Super Bowl Host Committee President & CEO Al Kelly said fans could eat or drink in their cars, or right next to them. Kelly added that fold-up chairs and grills would not be allowed and the lots will be closely monitored to ensure these rules are enforced. Kelly noted PSAs will run in the home markets of the two Super Bowl teams to instruct fans on the transit options. The host committee is arranging a "Fan Express" coach bus service that will pick up fans at nine locations and bring them to the game for a cost of $51. During the week, the Metropolitan Transit Authority and N.J. Transit promised to run extra buses, subways and trains, with the Saturday and Sunday of the game treated in some areas as weekday service (Daniel Kaplan, Staff Writer).
PAY TO PARK: In N.Y., Gary Myers notes the "coveted parking passes will go on sale Dec. 12 on NFL websites" and will "sell for $150, while a bus pass will go for $350." Meanwhile, foot travel into the parking lots "will not be allowed" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 12/10). Officials said that about 10,000 to 12,000 fans travel to the stadium for regular season games "by train and a smaller number by bus." In N.Y., Nate Schweber notes regular season games also see about 30,000 vehicles "park at the stadium and off-site lots" (N.Y. TIMES, 12/10). N.J. Transit Exec Dir James Weinstein said that "much of the game-day burden figures" to fall on his organization, which is "expected to carry as many as three times as many passengers from Secaucus on Super Bowl Sunday than it did for Sunday's Jets-Oakland game." Weinstein yesterday said that the agency has "conducted drills at a recent Giants and Jets game and has made adjustments" (AP, 12/9).
TOO CORPORATE TO TAILGATE: CBSSN's Doug Gottlieb said, “Since 9/11, there hasn’t been much tailgating. There are concerts outside, it’s all blocked off, it’s very, very corporate. That’s the whole thing. The Super Bowl has never been fan-friendly. It’s fan-friendly to watch and have a party at your home but it’s not a game to which you ever say like, ‘Hey, let’s go’” (“Lead Off,” CBSSN, 12/9). ESPN's Keith Olbermann said the announcement is "underscoring the main point of the game: The NFL doesn't really doesn't want us to go!" Olbermann: "You can tailgate as long as you don’t sit down, cook anything or intrude on an adjoining parking space." He also noted that without a proper parking tag to park at the stadium, "you can't bring a car into the vicinity of the stadium" or walk to the game, take a cab or a limo. Olbermann: "You can take a train or you can take a specially arranged shuttle bus provided by the generous National Football League Super Bowl Committee. Free shuttle bus, great idea. What? Not free? It only costs $51 per person, you say" ("Olbermann," ESPN2, 12/9).
CENTER OF ATTENTION: USA TODAY's Laura Petrecca wrote N.Y. and N.J. will "compete for hotel guests, partygoers, restaurant reservations and overall bragging rights." N.Y. has "garnered most of the Super Sunday attention so far," as it is "hosting one of the biggest attractions around the game: Super Bowl Boulevard, which is a 10-block stretch down Broadway." Also, "deep-pocketed companies such as DirecTV and Anheuser-Busch InBev have selected Manhattan as the location for their lavish, star-studded parties." Hudson County (N.J.) Division of Cultural & Tourism Affairs Dir Bill La Rosa said that his region is "'working hard' to grab a sliver of the spotlight -- and spending - that often goes to New York City." But it is "a challenge" (USA TODAY, 12/10).
COLD RAIN & SNOW: In Newark, Dom Cosentino writes the weather is "supposed to affect the way football gets played." Cosentino: "So if Roger Goodell insists on staging his annual corporate convention out in the elements in East Rutherford, I say let it snow. Let there be a thick blanket of white covering the entire field. ... Let the folks expensing their car service from some swanky Manhattan hotel worry about the possibility of ice and freezing rain. The rest of us just want to see a game that holds our interest" (NJ.com, 12/9).