WASHINGTON – Metrorail announced plans to extend the hours of service on Friday morning to accommodate NCAA fans coming home from the Verizon Center.
Metro will stay open one hour later, until 1 a.m., after coming to an agreement with the Verizon Center, which is paying for the additional hour of service.
Tip-off for the second game Thursday, when Syracuse takes on Indiana, is 9:45 p.m. and will likely end after midnight, when Metro normally closes.
Fans coming out of the NCAA East Region Semi Finals will be directed to Gallery Place or Judiciary Square stations from the game. The entrances at all other Metro stations will close at their normal times, according to a Metro news release.
But, riders will be able to exit at all stations during the additional hour of service, according to the release.
Metro suggests fans get to the stations no later than 12:50 a.m. to make the last trains.
At noon on Wednesday, plans had still not been finalized between Metro and the Verizon Center and the railway was set to close at its normal time.
The Verizon Center is paying Metro a deposit of $29,500 to keep the rail system operating an additional hour and it will be reimbursed based on ridership, says Dan Stessel, Metro spokesperson.
WMATA requires the event sponsor pay a deposit to keep trains running if the event will run later than its normal closing time.
“For every customer who enters the system in the extra hour the event sponsor is reimbursed,” Stessel says.
The reimbursement is $5.36 per rider, making the breakeven point for the Verizon Center about 5,500 riders.
“If you have ridership, in that extra hour, of 5,500 then you actually end up paying nothing, you get the whole deposit back,” Stessel says.
A similar problem occurred when Nationals fans last year during the playoffs when the game threatened to go past Metro’s operating hours.