NJ TRANSIT got it right – Again – during both of the Rolling Stones concerts held in the Meadowlands this month. Kudos to the agency and to the Governor’s office for stepping up again to find solutions to a very difficult situation.
When the Agency gets it right – it’s expected, and no one applauds. Of course, when issues occur, the Agency is challenged and too often ridiculed. Right or wrong, it simply is a fact. But it’s just as important for us to recognize what NJ TRANSIT is doing right, as it continues to reinvest and rebuild.
NJ TRANSIT is the third-largest transit system in the nation – relied upon by thousands of riders each day, as well as visitors throughout the year. That is why the Agency gets placed under the microscope when a major event comes to the various entertainment venues in New Jersey.
Given the infrastructure and staffing challenges that the agency has faced in recent years, it’s important to give accolades where accolades are due. Safely moving tens of thousands of people isn’t accomplished in a vacuum, or by the efforts of a single entity. It requires not only manpower and infrastructure, but also planning, coordination, and continuous communication.
Keep in mind, NJ TRANSIT accomplished the same thing when thousands of adoring fans descended upon the Meadowlands during the concerts held by Korean pop band BTS earlier this year. Despite skeptical media reports challenging the Agency and inaccurately projecting a disaster, the Agency effectively, efficiently and safely transported those thousands of individuals to and from the venue without incident. Recognizing that many of those fans came from out of state, unfamiliar with the NJ TRANSIT system, its schedules and operations, that was no easy task. The Agency accomplished that through effective communication before and during the event.
In a fluid environment, where events take on a life of their own, and in which strict federal regulations must be adhered to by transportation authorities, that solution had to include all stakeholders and a clear set of guidelines. As was true with the Rolling Stones concerts this month, the stadium and transit officials responsibly warned concertgoers to anticipate crowds and delays – prior to the concerts. And, just as important, the act’s promoters also were mindful of mass-transit concerns and kept the performances on schedule.
What made the difference? All parties working together with full transparency and respect. A shared commitment to ensuring that every aspect of the event, from the promotional activities to the end-of-concert logistics, were properly orchestrated. That’s how you put on an event. That’s how major events and entertainment interests are attracted to venues in New Jersey.
I’d like to applaud NJ Transit, and to acknowledge the strides Gov. Phil Murphy and Executive Director Kevin Corbett have made toward making the right things happen – to address the challenges faced by NJ TRANSIT each day, as well as during major events in New Jersey.
Anthony Russo is president and CEO of the Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey.