Last week after that Nats-Mets game I went to, I noted the huge mob trying to take the Metro home. But mobs getting the Metro after a game are one thing. There not being a train at all — and fans being forced to leave the game early to make the last one — is another issue altogether.
It popped up the other night during the rain delayed/extra inning Braves-Nats game, with a ton of fans leaving early in order to avoid being stranded in the District, far from their comfy Virginia and Maryland homes. The question a lot of people had in the wake of that is what the Nats will do if, as seems likely, they make the playoffs. When the games start later and end later. And when they matter, rendering an early exit from the ballpark a really bad thing to contemplate.
Dan Steinberg of the DC Sports Bog has been following this for a while and goes over the situation today. The upshot: the Nats would have to pay nearly $30,000 an hour to WMATA to keep Metro running. Per hour. Per game. And they’d have to sign a contract and place a deposit, meaning that they can’t do it on ad hoc basis. Other stuff about the issue can be read here and here.
One possible response I anticipate is to slag on the fact that Washington’s Metro closes at midnight to begin with. Well, tough. It’s always been that way. It’s a decision that they made a long time ago, most likely because it allows time for maintenance and cleaning (their trains and stations are quite nice compared to subways in other cities). And, oh, because there really isn’t a demand for 24 hour Metro service in Washington like there is in other cities.
So, yeah, it’s a problem. But not one that the city should have to solve. Their trains were running like that long before the Nats moved into town.