The Downtown Cluster of churches is seeking support for a proposal that Metro subway hours be extended to include Sunday service from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The Rev. Leslie C. Smith, president of the group which represents 15,000 churchgoers, sent a letter to the retail bureau of the Metropolitan Washington Board of Trade urging that group to make such a proposal.
Bureau manager Leonard Kolodny, said that the matter will be discussed by its executive committee. "I'm not sure we're the ones to handle this matter. Retail stores do not do nearly as much business on Sunday as restaurants and hotels," he said.
The subway, now open until 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, will begin operating on Saturdays Sept. 30 for 14 hours daily, although exact hours have not been determined. Starting Sept. 25, the subway will run until 11'o clock on weeknights.
"Actually, I was very surprised to get such a letter from the churches," Kolodny said. "I think it's a little incongruous they would came to us considering the pressure for Sunday closings (blue laws) originally came from churches."
Smith said he appreciates the irony of the situation. "I think the days of Sunday closings are over. And what better place to start than opening the subway on Sunday here, where it will benefit the downtown churches."
Metro spokeswoman Marilyn McGinty said no study has been made to determine potential Sunday ridership or projected revenues. She said that, if the Downtown Cluster requests Sunday operation "it will be considered."
Smith said the churches prefer that a "more powerful" group deal with Metro because "we'd rather be a fly on the horse."
"Our members might just love (to make) this proposal, said Kolodry.
"Some stores are open on Sunday, and those that are would like to have Sunday service. The real question is: Could Metro afford it?"