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Spectators complain of long lines, MARTA issues for big game

Although everyone saw the wild overtime finish during the College Football Playoff championship game at Mercedes-Benz...

Posted: Jan 9, 2018 9:35 PM
Updated: Jan 9, 2018 9:35 PM

Although everyone saw the wild overtime finish during the College Football Playoff championship game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, hundreds of fans missed the pre-game festivities because of long lines at the entrance.

Lines snaked partially around the stadium because of extra security measures for President Trump's visit to the game. Some people paid more than $2,000 for a ticket but feel they were cheated because of the long wait to get in.

About half an hour before the 8 p.m. kickoff time, there was still a long line of ticket-holders trying to get into the stadium, and CBS46 talked with a few who said they were waiting for two and a half hours to get in.

"Whoever's running the stadium has done a horrible job with the customer base," one man told CBS46 News.

"Been out here for like 3 hours. We need some organization here at Mercedes-Benz Stadium," said another.

An insider at the stadium told CBS46 News the Secret Service took over all four of the stadium's entrances, using TSA agents checking to search ticket-holders. That turned the usual 10-minute wait at a typical Falcons game into a much longer wait.

CBS46 also learned that at about 6:10 p.m., the Secret Service shut down Gate 1, the gate closest to the Vine City MARTA station, for the arrival of the president. Gate 1, where the bulk of fans typically enter, reopened at about 7 p.m.

Many of the spectators who arrived during that time frame ended up walking half-way around the stadium to Gate 4, where the longest lines formed. By 8:07 p.m., lines were no longer an issue at any of the gates, the insider said.

MARTA is also feeling the heat from frustrated fans. Trains had problems handling the number of people who packed themselves on board.

Stephany Fisher, a MARTA spokeswoman told CBS46, "The delays in service after the game were due to train operators not being able to fully close the train doors. In some cases, the train was full and riders may have inadvertently leaned on the door or blocked it. In other cases, there were patrons who pulled the emergency cord, which opens the door. There was also a medical emergency on board one train. We anticipated and planned for large crowds after the game and apologize to our riders who were inconvenienced."

By the way, the University of Alabama won its 17th national championship by beating Georgia 26-23 in overtime.

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