SANTA CLARA -- There were stories of fans sitting at the same stop light for 30 minutes. And then there were packed, sweltering trains with no air-conditioning.

But for most fans headed to and from the first Levi's Stadium sporting event Saturday night -- a San Jose Earthquakes game that filled two-thirds of the 70,000-seat stadium -- the experience wasn't so horrible.

"It's going to be crazy for 49ers games," said San Jose resident Aure Santiago Jr., while hanging out in the stadium with his son and two friends. "But we followed the route they gave us, and it was much better than" expected. They encountered little to no traffic off Highway 101 and arrived shortly before the soccer game started at 7:30 p.m.

There were reports after the game of heavy traffic getting out of parking lots -- and some light-rail trains were jammed. But freeway traffic was mostly light.

Most train rides, including those that ended or began at the pivotal Valley Transportation Authority-Caltrain transfer point in Mountain View, went smoothly.

"We were expecting chaos," said George Lee, a 49ers season-ticket holder from San Jose who took light rail to the game. "But it was easy. We got right in."

But other fans weren't so happy.

The VTA's 5:54 p.m. train headed north from San Jose's Tamien station was 10 minutes late. And then the power went off near the stadium stop -- killing the air-conditioning. With panic levels rising, the cry went up to open emergency windows. A police officer on the platform raced up and slammed one window in a woman's face; he later apologized. One pregnant woman nearly passed out.


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"They should have been ready for this," said another rider, Jennifer Avila, of San Jose. "This is absolutely crazy."

VTA spokeswoman Colleen Valles said a few hundred passengers were affected when the train briefly lost power. When crews restored power, she said, the air-conditioning wouldn't come back on. Valle said no other serious mechanical problems were reported Saturday.

The roads weren't perfect, either. San Jose's Mike Kitt said he came off Highway 237 smoothly and thought he was in the clear -- until he hit a few lights and basically stood still for half an hour.

"We didn't move," he said. "It's all right -- it was kind of what you expect."

Team officials acknowledged there were kinks, but said the game was a practice run before Aug. 17, when the 49ers host their first preseason contest. They urged fans to have patience.

"It's a learning experience for everybody," 49ers owner Jed York said while roaming the concourses before the game.

Although there were reports of broken metal detectors, the security lines to get in generally moved quickly, and no arrests or major incidents were reported.

"We learned some lessons, and it was good," said 49ers Vice President Jim Mercurio, who oversees stadium operations and security. "This was a perfect event for us to start off."

Staff writers Katie Nelson and Bud Geracie contributed to this report. Contact Mike Rosenberg at 408-920-5705. Follow him at Twitter.com/RosenbergMerc.