It appears that Metro will not stay open late on Thursday night for the end of the Washington Nationals’ make-or-break home game against the Chicago Cubs.
Instead, Metro officials are planning to close at the regularly scheduled time of 11:30 p.m. That would probably leave some train-dependent fans stranded if they don’t head out before the end of the ninth inning of Game 5 in the National League Division Series, which is scheduled to start at 8:08 p.m.
Metro spokesman Dan Stessel said Wednesday night, after the end of the Game 4, that the agency had received no request from the Nationals to keep the system open late on Thursday.
And the Nationals sent out an advisory in advance of the Thursday night matchup, alerting riders to Metro’s scheduled closing hours and advising them to bike or use the D.C. Circulator to get to and from the stadium.
The lack of plans for additional service hours comes after weeks of speculation about whether the Nationals would participate in Metro’s recently introduced protocol on extending the train schedule for special events.
Under the new policy, announced in June, organizations that want extra hours of service will have to pay for it. The price tag: $100,000 per hour, refundable if Metro ends up making a profit during the additional time.
When asked in recent days about whether Metro planned to accommodate riders during a potential Game 5 of the National League Division Series, Metro officials reiterated their stance: The stations will stay open late if the Nationals decide to pay for it.
The issue of late Metro hours was a significant point of contention last year, when Metro General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld refused to run extended service on the system during the Nats’ playoff run, citing the urgent need to use non-service hours at night to perform track repairs.
It was a decision that drew praise from some safety advocates but incensed many of the region’s baseball fans.
If the Nationals lose on Thursday night, fans may take a similar tack from last year: Blame Metro.