WASHINGTON — As our Washington Nationals enter the World Series, Metro said it'll pick up the tab for extra trains so fans can get home. Metro spokesman Dan Stessel said transit agency staff wanted to provide "certainty" to fans after Nationals management refused to foot the bill for after-hours service.
"Those entities have chosen not to pay," Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said after a meeting of Metro’s board of directors. "We have to think of the entire region and that’s what we’re doing. We’ll meet that demand that we’re going to have."
The move is a departure from a longtime transit agency policy. Without a rainy-day fund to draw from, Metro has historically asked a sports team to pay for special service to shuttle fans home -- about $100,000 per hour after the scheduled weeknight closing of 11:30 p.m., Metro spokesman Dan Stessel said. Corporate sponsors have paid for special service when approached by members of Metro’s board.
Metro’s board voted Oct. 10 against a Metro-proposed $1 million contingency fund to cover extra service for special events. Board member Tom Bulger of the District said he believed the sponsorship idea "has a lot of merit," but wanted to know more about why Metro should provide a contingency fund.
Wiedefeld said he thought revisiting the idea “makes a lot more sense” when the board considers Metro’s new annual operating budget in November.
"We’ll work through some of those issues together," Wiedefeld said.
The focus on Metro securing special, late service has been greater since 2017 when Metro shortened operating hours to allow for more system maintenance overnight. Metro has said that it'll propose changing hours during budget hearings next month. Metro’s board supports extending hours on weekdays and weekends.