Good news, Nats fans: Metro staying open late for Thursday’s big game

WASHINGTON — An agreement has been reached to keep Metro trains running later than scheduled, so Nationals fans who go to Thursday night’s winner-take-all playoff game against the Cubs will be able to hop on the rails when it ends.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld announced energy company Exelon will pay $100,000 to keep the Metro system open one additional hour Thursday night.

Without the agreement, thousands of fans at Game 5 of the National League Division Series would likely have been stranded at the ballpark unless they left the game early.

The game starts at 8:08 p.m., and Metro’s regular closing time is 11:30 p.m.

Four stations will remain open after the regular closing time to accommodate fans leaving Nationals Park and people attending the grand opening of D.C.’s Wharf development. The stations staying open late for entry only are Navy Yard-Ballpark, Waterfront, L’Enfant Plaza, and Capitol South.

“We want everyone attending these events to enjoy their experience and have a safe ride home at the end of the night,” Bower said in a statement.

With the extra hour of service, the last Green Line train is scheduled depart Navy Yard-Ballpark station heading toward Greenbelt at 12:22 a.m., Metro said in a news release. The last Green Line train to Branch Avenue will depart the Navy Yard station at 12:48 a.m.

The extra hour of service is a “a real victory for the District, for Metro and for baseball,” Metro Board Chairman Jack Evans, who is also a D.C. Council member, told WTOP.

In the seventh inning of Game 5 of last year’s NLDS at Nationals Park, just minutes before 11 p.m., the Nationals posted the departure time of the final train, prompting boos to rain down from the crowd.

Metro is willing to stay open late for special events, but the cost to an organization paying to extend service has risen dramatically to do so.

In years past, a $29,500 deposit was required to be put in escrow in advance, to be released as needed to pay for an extra hour of service. Organizations were then paid back for whatever fares are actually used during that extra hour.

With Metro struggling financially and downtime to make repairs and improvements at more of a premium, the bill to keep the system open has spiked to $100,000 an hour.

The Washington Capitals have a standing agreement with Metro to pay for late playoff finishes. In the past, other teams have paid to keep the system running. This includes the Nationals, who did so for the May 2012 Sunday Night Baseball tilt with the Philadelphia Phillies, but have not since then.

WTOP’s Jack Moore contributed to this report. 

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Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

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