The head of the NJ Senate Legislative Oversight Committee wants to look into an apparent “breakdown of operations” that left thousands of NJ Transit riders stranded in East Rutherford following Sunday’s Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium.
State Sen. Bob Gordon (D-Bergen/Passaic) said Thursday that he would convene a hearing to investigate NJ Transit’s "repeated failures."
"The Super Bowl was the largest sporting event ever hosted in New Jersey and reliability of mass transit was critical... thousands of fans were stranded at MetLife stadium for hours before they were able to board trains. The problems were widespread and preventable," Gordon said. "This follows millions of dollars in avoidable damage to rail cars from flooding during Superstorm Sandy and website outages that left transit riders unable to access schedules during a major snowstorm."
According to the state senator, NJ Transit has demonstrated a consistent pattern of failure in planning for major events, including inclement and a long-planned sporting event such as Super Bowl XLVIII.
“This raises serious questions about managerial control within the organization and the overall stability of its operations," said Gordon, adding that the committee would seek information from the agency to determine why NJ Transit has shown a “complete inability to plan and respond to the needs of transit riders, and what steps are needed to improve the agency.
“We cannot allow another incident to occur that compromises the reliability of a critical mass transit system in the region and places the safety of commuters at risk.”
Gordon said he’s seeking documents from NJ Transit in advance of the hearing “to include a full accounting of the actions NJ Transit took in preparing for each of these events, the actions it took to respond and the cost in tax dollars and productivity that was lost.”
The hearing is expected to take place in March.
The committee will also examine website outages that occurred during a recent snowstorm and caused confusion among transit riders, and the failure of the agency to properly prepare for and respond to Hurricane Sandy, according to a statement distributed Thursday.
NJ Transit declined comment on Thursday afternoon.