Thousands Of Fans Endure NJ Transit Nightmare After WrestleMania

April 08, 2019 - 10:57 am
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (WCBS 880) – Confusion and despair broke out among wrestling fans early Monday morning after another event at MetLife stadium was plagued by New Jersey Transit mishaps.

Extensive bus and train delays left thousands of people from WWE’s WrestleMania waiting in long lines, at one point in the rain.

The show let out at 12:30 a.m. and NJ.com sports reporter James Kratch joined what seemed like an unusually long line for a train that never came.

“Around like 1:45 a.m., which is about an hour and 15 minutes after the show ended, the rain started coming and people got really upset,” Kratch said. “And it just kind of digressed from there.”

The NJ Transit system was apparently overwhelmed again, and people took to social media to make their grievances known as they waited for their bus or train.

Around 2:45 a.m., Kratch finally arrived at Secaucus Junction – which was packed with people.

Kratch’s NJ Transit odyssey finally ended when he arrived home at 5 a.m. He says he sat down to write about it by memory, because his notepad got soaked in the rain.

“It was a night that I don’t think I’m going to forget very easily,” he said.

NJ Transit issued a statement Monday blaming the fiasco on WrestleMania organizers.

“By the end of the evening, we were able to safely transport more than 12,000 customers from MetLife Stadium last night. The primary factor contributing to the post-event delays was the WWE’s decision to extend the event to 12:30 a.m., which had significant operational impacts on the evening. NJ TRANSIT was not informed of this decision until late last night. NJ TRANSIT’s pre-event planning called for the use of six train sets following the event until approximately 1 a.m. based on the WWE’s initial event schedule. The decision to extend this event resulted in our inability to operate some of those trains due to federal requirements limiting train crew hours.  Last-minute adjustments such as holding the final trains of the night and adding several additional trips between Secaucus and Penn Station New York by utilizing crews and trains from throughout the system were made.”

Gov. Phil Murphy, who was at WrestleMania but didn't take the train home, weighed in on Monday, making no excuses and saying NJ Transit has to do better by its riders.

"They weren't told what was going on, and it's completely, utterly, dog-ate-my-homework unacceptable -- period," the governor said.

"We're going to learn from this and I'll be damned if it happens again," he added.

Still, the governor says he feels the right team is in place at NJ Transit, despite the latest mishap.

"Slowly but surely this is getting to the right place, but events like last night show that we're not there yet," he said.

Murphy said NJ Transit's engineer shortage is also being addressed. 

Monday's incident was reminiscent of the 2014 Super Bowl game at MetLife, after which thousands of fans had to wait hours for their trains.