A few people have expressed concern to me or my colleagues that Metro did not stay open late on Tuesday, as the Nats went into 12 innings against the Mets before winning it on a Bryce Harper single. The team, in fact, made an announcement about Metro closing times as the game stretched on, which apparently prompted some people to leave before the dramatic conclusion.
So here’s a brief explanation of the situation. For Metro to stay open late (or open early) costs $29,500 per hour. The Caps, as Dana Hedgpeth wrote earlier this spring, have a standing agreement with WMATA to keep Metro open late if necessary during the playoffs, when games often start later and multiple overtimes are in play. That happened with the triple overtime loss to the Rangers this spring, and a portion of the cost was billed to the Caps.
To have such an agreement requires a $29,500 deposit from the organization or venue in question, a Metro spokesman explained, which then gives the option to use the additional hour when its needed.
The Caps don't need to worry about this during the regular season, because shootouts guarantee a finite length for games. Even playoff games do not run past normal transit times unless they go into double overtime.
The Nats do not have a similar standing agreement with WMATA, but bear in mind that any baseball game could theoretically go past Metro’s closing time, and the Nats would never know if the extra hour were needed until moments before the deadline. So they couldn’t just have dialed up an extra hour of Metro service on Tuesday; a contract has to be signed and the deposit paid in advance.
The Nats did make arrangements for a potential extra hour of service during the Sunday night game against the Phillies, since it had a later-than-usual 8:05 start time. During the game, they decided to exercise that option, and Metro stayed open an extra hour.
That was a “one-off” arrangement, as the Metro spokesman put it, and there isn’t a standing agreement in place for normal Nats games.
A portion of the $29,500 extra-hour cost is reimbursable to the venue or organization in question, based on the additional fare revenue generated in that extra hour. For the Phillies game, the Nats were reimbursed $1,611 for the 445 passengers who used the system after midnight. In other words, the Nats paid WMATA more than $62 for each fan who took advantage of the extra hour of service.
The last train times at the Navy Yard station are 12:17 a.m. headed south on the Green line, and 11:39 p.m. going north. The team typically would make an announcement (or announcements) leading up to the 11:16 north-bound train, since that’s the last train that allows for connecting service to other lines.
The Nats could still decide to make a formal arrangement with WMATA for potential extended service later in the year, or in the playoffs, if necessary.
Bear in mind that I’m not a transportation writer; any other questions, please ask below.