BOSTON (CBS) – After a massive crowd of fans turned out in Boston Tuesday for the New England Patriots Super Bowl parade, the MBTA warned riders to prepare for a long trip home, especially if they’re taking the Commuter Rail.
“As a result of the very heavy passenger volumes, all MBTA passengers should expect crowds, be prepared for longer commutes, and exercise caution at all stations,” the T said in a statement.
Outside North Station there was a long line of people waiting to get on a train home as the evening rush hour began. Trains leaving South Station were running up to 40 minutes late.
“The crowds were so bad you couldn’t even squeeze through,” one woman said. “People were getting pushed and shoved, it was horrible.”
Frustration boiled over for many Commuter Rail riders in the morning as the system experienced what’s estimated to be its highest ridership ever, and was twice as busy as a typical weekday.
“We are seeing extraordinary ridership levels across the entire network, notably higher than seen for previous parades and almost certainly the highest ridership ever seen on the network,” Commuter Rail operator Keolis said in a statement.
The MBTA’s website reported delays on the Kingston/Plymouth, Newburyport/Rockport, Fitchburg, Haverhill, Lowell and Providence/Stoughton lines of up to 40 minutes long “due to heavy parade ridership.”
The T said they added additional Commuter Rail trains and cars Tuesday afternoon, but thousands were forced to wait in long lines.
Former Massachusetts Transportation Secretary James Aloisi says there should be no more parades during the week. “I think today was really awful,” Aloisi told WBZ after the parade Tuesday. “I think it was unfair to every worker in the city who was trying to get home, it was unfair to the T, it was unfair to the Commuter Rail provider. We have to stop these mega parade events on weekdays and move them to weekends where they belong.”
Social media photos showed trains and station platforms packed with Patriots fans. The T said trains were reaching capacity early and sometimes running past express stations.
MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak encouraged people to be patient as the delays mounted.
“We’re seeing huge crowds come in for the parade,” he said. “It’s obviously a challenge for us to provide all the service we need for our customers.”
Riders expressed their frustration on social media – one even using the hashtag #ihatetheparade.
The Franklin line also saw significant delays Tuesday morning after a man was fatally struck by a train.