Metro to Nats Fans: You're Out!

Transit system won't lift late-night moratorium for playoff baseball

The Washington Metro Area Transit Authority issued its “SafeTrack” plan to improve reliability and safety in Washington’s public transit system. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Washington Metro can take Washington Nationals fans out to the ball game Thursday night, but leaving may be another matter. The agency is sticking to its plan not to provide late-night service as part of its 10-month maintenance overhaul.

Despite pressure from the District of Columbia Council, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority said Wednesday it will not lift its late-night service moratorium to accommodate fans attending the Nationals playoff game against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Games have tended to last close to four hours. Metro says most service will cease by 11:45 p.m. and one southbound train will be available after midnight.

“Unfortunately that has meant saying no to worthy organizations including Race for the Cure [breast cancer awareness], the Marine Corps Marathon, etc.,” Metro spokesman Dan Stessel said in an email. “A post-season Nats game is a much smaller scale event in terms of ridership. Not sure how one says no to tens of thousands of Susan G. Komen [Race for the Cure] participants and Marines but yes to baseball fans — to say nothing of regular riders, who have not gotten any ‘exceptions’ from the hardships of SafeTrack.”

The early Metro closures have been in place since May, when the 10-month concentrated maintenance program the agency has dubbed SafeTrack took effect. However, the issue is gaining new attention under the media spotlight of postseason baseball. The D.C. Council unanimously approved Tuesday a resolution that late-night Metro service should be restored.

[Metro Adds Weekend Shutdowns to Maintenance Plan]

The Federal Transit Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board have advised Metro to run limited hours in order to allow crews to perform overdue maintenance, Stessel said.

First pitch of Thursday’s winner-take-all finale of the National League Division Series is scheduled for 8:08 p.m. The last northbound train from the Navy Yard-Ballpark Green Line station is scheduled to depart at 11:39 p.m., though that train is not scheduled to arrive at Gallery Place-Chinatown in time to make a Red Line connection, a key transfer point for riders. The last Green Line train guaranteed to make a Red Line connection leaves Navy Yard-Ballpark at 11:20 p.m. The last southbound train from the ballpark station is scheduled for 12:17 a.m.

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