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Posted at 4:31 PM ET, 02/11/2011

Metro eyes 12am weekend closures

By Luke Rosiak

Two critical issues have pressed Metro leaders to make tough decisions: How to close a $72 million budget shortfall and how to get the system up to a "state of good repair."

Riders are inconvenienced by trains with malfunctioning doors, failing heat or cooling systems, stations with falling ceiling tiles or decaying platforms, and single-tracking caused by cracked rails and other malfunctions.

But they've also been inconvenienced by track work that has shut large segments of the system entirely on holiday weekends, and caused single-tracking on a steady basis during the day. Metro has introduced its most significant weekend repair schedule ever this year, causing unprecedented shut-downs.

One possible solution floated at board committee hearings today? Closing the system at midnight instead of 3 a.m. on weekends, which would give mechanics time to work on equipment during off hours, as well as save money.

Metro deputy general manager Dave Kubicek said if Metro closes at midnight on Friday and Saturday instead of at 3 a.m. it could gain the equivalent of 45 days a year for track work, the Post's Ann Scott Tyson reports.

Smaller systems, such as Boston's T, close at midnight on the weekends. But Metro shuttles thousands of riders around the city and to the far suburbs at night, including intoxicated revelers for whom driving is not an option, as well as service workers, some of whom must work late hours and cannot afford other forms of transportation.

Metro trains first began running after midnight in 1999, when the system's hours were extended to 1 a.m. "At the time, Metro had the earliest closing time among the nation's major transit systems, and the move was celebrated as a sign that button-down Washington was getting a shade hipper," as an August 2007 Washington Post story put it.

The 1 a.m. closing slowly crept to 3 a.m. with the encouragement of businesses. The 2007 story ran because then-general manager John Catoe mulled dealing with a budget crisis that year by replacing late-night rail service with buses.

In May 2006, the average after-midnight ridership on weekends was 22,376 trips, which rose slightly the following May, averaging 23,184 trips per weekend. Nearly half of those riders boarded trains between midnight and 1 a.m.

D.C. Councilmember Jim Graham, who represented the District on Metro's board, fought to preserve late-night service in the past. But he departed the board at the end of last year.

Should Metro shut down at midnight? Share your stories.

Where do you stand?

Given financial constraints and the need for rapid repairs, how essential is late service? Is there room for a compromise, like a 2 a.m. closing? Chime in on the comments section or on Twitter by using #metrocurfew.

Twitter reacts

@washingtonpost #metrocurfew is AWFUL. So many people rely on metro go get home from late night adventures!less than a minute ago via web

Just when I thought @wmata couldn't get any worse, they propose a #metrocurfew. Awesome. @unsuckdcmetroless than a minute ago via web

A #metrocurfew of 12am would be terrible! Don't limit responsible-ish adults who want to experience the city nightlife on the weekends!less than a minute ago via TweetDeck

By Luke Rosiak  | February 11, 2011; 4:31 PM ET
Categories:  Metro, Transportation Politics  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Green Line on schedule
Next: The weekend and beyond

Comments

Frankly, it's embarrassing that the 2nd most heavily used subway system in the United States isn't 24/7. If anything, they should extend weekend hours. If they close at midnight, there are going to be a lot more drunks on the road.

Posted by: futbolclif | February 10, 2011 11:12 AM | Report abuse

I certainly hope this does not go through. I understand that metro desperately needs more maintenance, but closing metro will definitely put more drunks on the road, especially considering that most buses in DC do not run late.

Posted by: shawkatie | February 10, 2011 11:18 AM | Report abuse

As a weekend drunk who takes the metro, I oppose this strongly

Posted by: thenoggin | February 10, 2011 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Frankly, it's embarrassing that the 2nd most heavily used subway system in the United States isn't 24/7. If anything, they should extend weekend hours. If they close at midnight, there are going to be a lot more drunks on the road.

Posted by: futbolclif | February 10, 2011 11:12 AM


The problem is that there isn't the track room to allow for 24-7 operations. New York can do it because of the four-track (or three-track) design of much of the system, which makes it easy to use the express track to detour trains around a work area. I say "the express track" because frequently at off-hours the express is running on the local track anyway, so a detour would involve using the express track. New York's system is also extensive enough that it's feasible to cut back many lines during the night--in other words, as the subway map says, "All stations are served at all times, but not all routes operate at all times." The N is a good example: During the night, it's usually cut back to run as a shuttle from Coney Island up to 36th Street in Brooklyn, where passengers can change to the RR.

Since DC has a two-track design, there's no viable way to re-route trains around work zones, and since DC has a hub-and-spoke design, running shuttles is of limited value. WMATA could cut the Yellow Line back to run as a shuttle between Huntington and King Street since all the other stops are served by other lines, and I suppose they could cut the Blue Line back to be two shuttles (one from King Street to Franconia-Springfield and one from Stadium-Armory to Largo) given that Arlington Cemetery closes early. But on the more-heavily trafficked Red, Orange, and Green Lines, it's not viable to do this.

It seems to me that cutting the weekend service back to midnight, or 2:00 AM, is just cutting back to what the service used to be. You may recall that it was a Big Deal when they extended service past midnight. I seem to recall that Sunday hours used to be severely truncated (maybe 10:00 AM to 6:00 or 8:00 PM????). What WMATA needs to assess is what the purpose of the Metrorail system is. Is it a means for COMMUTING or is it a means for GETTING AROUND? The answer to that question would then drive the decision on operating hours.

Posted by: 1995hoo | February 10, 2011 11:30 AM | Report abuse

I think shutting down the whole system is a mistake and that the targeted closings they have been doing are the way to go.

As for me, I'm used to driving in on the week nights, knowing that the system does not stay open late enough for the closing of night clubs I go to. However, on the weekends there just isn't enough parking.

Why don't they just raise the rates for the late night crowd? Folks like @thenoggin can probably afford it.

Posted by: slar | February 10, 2011 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Well this should make the cab drivers happy.

Posted by: Jsuf | February 10, 2011 11:46 AM | Report abuse

slar-

You already pay rush hour fares at that time, the trains already run on longer headways and are frequently packed. The late night service gets used a lot more than people assume.

Posted by: Razor04 | February 10, 2011 11:52 AM | Report abuse

How about a dedicated alcohol tax to support Metro? Cheers, Metro.

Posted by: Aerowaz | February 10, 2011 11:53 AM | Report abuse

1995hoo raises good points and differences between the metro systems.

After implementing the largest fare increase in WMATA history last year, I don't think they deserve to consider anything that would have an impact on the riders whether it be fare increases or service cuts. It disappoints me that even after raising fares to meet last year's budget, they're still having budget problems this year. Going into the red once in a while is to be expected, but it doesn't look like we'll ever finish a year in the black. If they didn't think that the fares last year would solve budget problems in the future, then it was incredibly short sighted to solve one problem only to have to fight over the problem year in and year out.

I think that we need to distribute the pain equally and less visible manner which leads to increased contribution from the localities. Obviously this is complicated and filled with pitfalls, but I think this might be the best and most reasonable way to make Metro financially viable.

Posted by: HobbesLionheart | February 10, 2011 11:57 AM | Report abuse

What about evening Nats games in the summer? Those regularly run until around 11.

Posted by: OfficePhone | February 10, 2011 11:58 AM | Report abuse

My bar hopping days are over. I work a 9 to 5 job. Cabbies will make more money. They really need it.

Metro will do what it wants at all times.

Can you make the trains run smoothly during morning & afternoon rush hour? PLEASE.

Posted by: TaxiDriver | February 10, 2011 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Metro desperately needs to control costs, and to do more maintenance and repair on the rail system. This is one of several cost-reduction plans that should be adopted.

The late-night weekend trains (12-3 am) carry only a small number of riders. Metro could provide substitute bus service along the same routes during those hours, for a fraction of the cost. That will provide mobility for those who need it, while saving money for the system, and allowing more time for rail system maintenance.

This idea was put forward to the Metro Board last year. But it was shot down by local politicians on the Board (Graham and Zimmerman), who seemed oblivious to Metro's budget problems.

Now that those obstructionists are gone, it's time to implement this plan -- and to look for other ways to restrain Metro's out-of-control costs.

Posted by: jrmil | February 10, 2011 12:12 PM | Report abuse

I rarely take the Metro late at night, on account of living within walking/stumbling distance from Adams Morgan. But whenever I do take it, it's always pretty packed.

I am so sick of Metro raising rates and cutting services. I get that it's not entirely their fault, they need more funding overall, but it's frustrating that they're even thinking of cutting services people actually use after the ridiculous rate hikes over the past few years.

If they're going to cut rail service, they should add some kind of express bus services to replace the rail--like bus lines that only go from station to station, no stops in between, from midnight to 3 AM (or longer, I would love longer hours on the weekend). Run them every twenty minutes, charge $2.00 for a ride. This would suck compared to rail service at the same hours, but there has to be some sort of mass transit option for the drunkies who need to get home after a night out.

Posted by: dkp01 | February 10, 2011 12:19 PM | Report abuse

"Since DC has a two-track design, there's no viable way to re-route trains around work zones" ... -1995hoo

Yes it does. Chicago, which also has substantially a two-track design, thoughtfully put track switches before and after every station and about every mile between stations. Thus you can take a mile of track out of service and work on it and it doesn't affect train service as much as the smallest incident here which causes miles of track to be out of service.

Much rather they put their capital budget into building track switches than absolutely any other thing, including the Silver Line.

Posted by: vnangia | February 10, 2011 12:27 PM | Report abuse

To those saying the late night trains are full, Metro's own numbers show that half the after-midnight crowd is onboard by 1am.

Personally, I think midnight is too early. But 3am is a bit too late and both costs extra (the rush-hour fares obviously don't cover it all) and limits the timeframe WMATA has to do maintenance. I think a happy medium would be somewhere in the 1-2am period.

Posted by: ajfroggie | February 10, 2011 12:29 PM | Report abuse

New York is the city that never sleeps. and I suppose that DC is the city that goes to bed on time, right after the warm milk and cookies. . .

where is the surprise here ?

Posted by: joelcavicchia | February 10, 2011 12:35 PM | Report abuse

The "more drunks on the road" argument is a red herring. 1) There are lots of big cities that don't have a subway and people there somehow manage to go out and party and get home without driving. 2) I spent my college age years partying in DC when metro closed at midnight and never had a problem finding a way home without driving. If people managed it before, there's no reason they couldn't now.

Posted by: drklahn | February 10, 2011 12:47 PM | Report abuse

"Yes it does. Chicago, which also has substantially a two-track design, thoughtfully put track switches before and after every station and about every mile between stations. Thus you can take a mile of track out of service and work on it and it doesn't affect train service as much as the smallest incident here which causes miles of track to be out of service."

DC's has a fair number of switches too, according to John Cambron's excellent track schematic (viewable at http://mysite.verizon.net/cambronj/wmata/sys_schematic_ars-2008.gif ). But for whatever reason, WMATA regards those switches as inadequate for purposes of train rerouting during the night. I suspect the heavy amount of shared trackage (i.e., two lines using the same tracks) factors into this equation due to the logistical nuisance of alternating two lines' trains through a single-tracked area. I don't know if that's the case--I'm just speculating--but I do think that if they've viewed the two-track design as a limitation on the work they can do for almost 35 years now, they're not going to change their minds quickly.

Come to think of it, the London Underground shuts down around 1:00 AM every night (and doesn't operate at all on Christmas). London is a much heavier-drinking and more highly-populated city than DC is, yet they seem to do OK with the Tube not running 24-7. I think "drklahn" makes a pretty good point about how people in cities without tube systems do perfectly well. It's all a case of adapting to circumstances.

Posted by: 1995hoo | February 10, 2011 12:56 PM | Report abuse

I think Metro has the right idea - keep raising fares while cutting back on services. Soon Metro will operate 9-5 and charge $17 per ride (but the escalators still won't work).

Posted by: justanotherguy | February 10, 2011 12:56 PM | Report abuse

"Metro deputy Dave Kubicek said if Metro closes at midnight on Friday and Saturday instead of at 3 a.m. it could gain the equivalent of 45 days a year for track work, the Post's Ann Scott Tyson reports."

Could Metro or the author please do the math again?

3 more hours a day x 2 days x 52 weeks = 312 hours = 13 days.

Thirteen days is a lot different than 45 days. Come on now guys.

Posted by: dcmidnight | February 10, 2011 1:08 PM | Report abuse

This is a great idea, think of all the revenue the DC Metro Area will gain in DUI arrests.

Posted by: damnit79 | February 10, 2011 1:31 PM | Report abuse

yes. Yes! YES! Let's make an already nearly useless public transportation system Completely and Totally Useless!!

Why is it that the only solutions WMATA can ever develop are taken entirely out of the Customer's behind?

Badly managed parking lot contractor steals Millions of $. What's the answer? All Customers must now use only a SmartTrip card to pay for parking. And the hours required to pay for parking have vastly increased outside of any "rush-hour" justifications.

In any other economy-based system, an org that continues to fail to produce and only increasingly screws its Customers ceases to exist. WMATA management needs to be gutted and started over, with less Work-fare positions and more accountability.

Posted by: AnonPoster | February 10, 2011 1:43 PM | Report abuse

I normally work on the weekends and holidays and have been caught on weekends when they shut down some stations - I believe it was last October, mid-January, and now in about a week on the orange line. It's a real hassle. Metro keeps getting older and older, and I see no end in sight for repairs.

Posted by: swissmiss150 | February 10, 2011 1:51 PM | Report abuse

This after the LARGEST fare increases in history. Thanks Metro.

Posted by: scoran | February 10, 2011 2:10 PM | Report abuse

This is a no-brainer. Metro already can't handle the basic commute for which it was built. It's not worth it to continue to flush money down the toilet of the late-night-drunk-express.

Posted by: getjiggly1 | February 10, 2011 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Metro should just follow the money, and if it makes economic sense to shut down at midnight (or earlier) rather than 3 am in order to get maintenance done during that time slot, then that's the right answer. Somehow, everyone in DC managed without late night subway service for many years, so I'm not buying the "put more drunks on the road" argument. Can anybody show that DUIs decreased in the years when Metro had post-midnight hours?

Posted by: WashingtonDame | February 10, 2011 2:17 PM | Report abuse

I guess Metro doesn't need the money it makes between 12 and 3?

Bamas.

Posted by: bs2004 | February 10, 2011 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Somehow, everyone in DC managed without late night subway service for many years, so I'm not buying the "put more drunks on the road" argument. Can anybody show that DUIs decreased in the years when Metro had post-midnight hours?
----

That would be ironic if you or a loved one gets killed by a drunk driver on a weekend after midnight. Wouldn't it be ironic?

Posted by: scoran | February 10, 2011 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Dear WMATA, while I am disappointed that you would even consider this, I am not surprised. Thank you for proving my point that you really don't care about the riders. All your great ideas focused on the wallet completely ignore rider needs. You already have people fighting on train platforms. Are you ready for riots?

Posted by: dcombs001 | February 10, 2011 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Moving closing time back to 1 or 2 AM may be reasonable if needed. Midnight is too early, or too drastic at once. An alternative might be to open later than 7 AM on Sat./Sun. mornings, or charge more ("peak of the peak"?) after midnight. If train service at night were sharply curtailed to cut costs, then I agree with those who say that express bus service should be instituted as a replacement, perhaps in tandem with other local bus lines.

I still find it hard to believe that they would consider this after instituting such stiff fare hikes. Just where is all the money going? I do not believe that repair needs explain it all; how could everything suddenly start breaking down at once? Evidently somebody is spending way too much while not doing their job!

Posted by: mkarns | February 10, 2011 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Many of the cities emergency responders depend on trains to get to and from work when it is not possible to take to the roads. (i.e. 2010 blizzards). Shutting down at 12 will guarantee that nobody shows up to work outside of their "regular working hours". We all know, weather and other emergencies don't happen at our convenience. Just a thought. I guess I should rethink that decision NOT to purchase a 4x4. Metro is making the decision for me.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | February 10, 2011 3:01 PM | Report abuse

They would be fools to conclude service on the weekends at midnight. I just don't think that's the problem with the system.

Posted by: lulu202 | February 10, 2011 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Can't Metro just charge more for late night rides, rather than eliminating them? Intoxicated riders will pay more. The streets are so much safer with Metro running late on the weekends.

Posted by: sbdc2 | February 10, 2011 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Closing the Metro early would be no excuse for more drunk people driving, but it would be a major inconvenience.

Taxi's are sometimes available, but it's almost impossible for a black guy to get a taxi to stop at night. Sometimes I can use a bus, but often the Metro is the best way. I agree they should be pushing towards a 24 hour system instead of pulling back on hours. This would be a step backwards.

Posted by: PersonL | February 10, 2011 3:12 PM | Report abuse

"The "more drunks on the road" argument is a red herring. 1) There are lots of big cities that don't have a subway and people there somehow manage to go out and party and get home without driving. 2) I spent my college age years partying in DC when metro closed at midnight and never had a problem finding a way home without driving. If people managed it before, there's no reason they couldn't now.

Posted by: drklahn | February 10, 2011 12:47 PM "

==============================

1) Just because other cities manage without does not mean that they (and we) wouldn't manage better with.
2) Seeing as they extended the hours in 2000 or so, I think it's safe to say that the size and needs of the DC area population have changed since your college days.

Posted by: dkp01 | February 10, 2011 3:13 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't have a problem with higher rates for late night rides. There's some room between current metro rates and taxi rates.

Also, slightly more frequent buses after midnight wouldn't hurt in DC. And just adding some after midnight bus routes in the suburbs wouldn't hurt. Presently, I know not to get caught anywhere in VA or MD after 10 away from a metro station.

Posted by: PersonL | February 10, 2011 3:20 PM | Report abuse

As usual, the rest of us who use metro for work and daytime travel on weekends have to pay more so a few drunks can have the subway to make their way home after wasting their money. Close it at midnight. They can take a cab.

Posted by: johnfchick1 | February 10, 2011 3:25 PM | Report abuse

If late night metro service is such a hot commodity (based on comments here), why not charge higher rates after midnight then? For riders it would still be cheaper than a cab ride and for metro it would generate additional revenue to offset yearly budget gaps.

Posted by: ragnas | February 10, 2011 3:37 PM | Report abuse

The whole purpose of Metro closing at 3am was to avoid having people drink and drive. Also the late hours has greatly help the night-life in DC and helped business growth. Less hours of operation on weekends means less revenue

Posted by: agarnett1000 | February 10, 2011 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, as a black man a cab is not an option leaving work in Adams Morgan after midnight, I enjoy not having to give some of those racists my money. Bad idea.

Posted by: jbworldwide | February 10, 2011 3:53 PM | Report abuse

"That would be ironic if you or a loved one gets killed by a drunk driver on a weekend after midnight. Wouldn't it be ironic?

Posted by: scoran | February 10, 2011 2:26 PM | Report abuse"

Believe me, we are all safely asleep in our respective beds after midnight, both during the week and on the weekends. Any drunk driver is more likely to hit a fellow late-night partier.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | February 10, 2011 3:53 PM | Report abuse

So, the metro is planning on cutting more service.

And I'm sure they will raise fares again. They keep cutting service and raising fares. Someone should inform them that this just drives away customers and causes them to lose more money.

Posted by: rderr27 | February 10, 2011 4:10 PM | Report abuse

So, the metro is planning on cutting more service.

And I'm sure they will raise fares again. They keep cutting service and raising fares. Someone should inform them that this just drives away customers and causes them to lose more money.

Posted by: rderr27 | February 10, 2011 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Since the city extended the 2-hour limit on most downtown parking meters to 8:30 p.m. or later, Metro has been my preferred option if I want to attend events on weekday evenings or dine out downtown. If I now have to count on shelling out $15 bucks for parking because Metro might close before I'm ready to go home, looks like downtown D.C. establishments will lose my business. Just another reason why Metro needs to be subsidized by local governments.

Posted by: PRGinSS | February 10, 2011 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Raise the rates and then cut serivces. Please tell me why I should be trying to take Metro anymore?

What is really sad is that it is cheaper for me to drive to work and pay for parking now than it is to take a bus and Metro to work each day. Plus driving saves me a half hour each way.

Posted by: abryant15 | February 10, 2011 4:37 PM | Report abuse

All this region needs is even more drunk driving fatalities. Great idea, WMATA!

Posted by: pit_girl1 | February 10, 2011 4:56 PM | Report abuse

I remember when METRO was being constructed in the late 60's, early 70's that the trains would eventually run 24/7.
And they also said back then, that METRO trains would be impervious to the snow.

Gotta love the foresight of the WMATA planners of the 60's & 70's. We are paying for their shortsightedness TODAY!!

Posted by: Robbnitafl | February 10, 2011 5:08 PM | Report abuse

I rode Metro once... yes, ONCE... to go out on the town one Saturday night.

It was horrible. It took forever to get from my Apartment at Pentagon City to Dupont Circle primarily from having to wait on the platform for the train to come. Then, when I wanted to go to a different location at Eastern Market, it again took forever, when I could have walked faster.

Then, going home, tired and weary, the last thing I wanted to do was wait yet again for another train. I ended up taking a cab.

From that day on, I never used metro again for a weekend venture into the city.

Eventually I reached the point, too, where I ditched Metro for my daily commute to work, too. I value my time too much.

Metro can suck it.

Posted by: trambusto | February 10, 2011 5:18 PM | Report abuse

"as a black man a cab is not an option"

Heh, apparently you've never looked at who is driving the cabs.

Posted by: getjiggly1 | February 10, 2011 5:21 PM | Report abuse

"Taxi's are sometimes available, but it's almost impossible for a black guy to get a taxi to stop at night." Posted by: PersonL | February 10, 2011 3:12 PM

And

"Sorry, as a black man a cab is not an option leaving work in Adams Morgan after midnight, I enjoy not having to give some of those racists my money. Bad idea."

Posted by: jbworldwide | February 10, 2011 3:53 PM

------------------

As a white man, I'm curious about this. Obviously, I've not experienced it, nor have I witnessed it. I'm sincerely curious, and not judging, so I appreciate your answers to my questions below.

Could either of you elaborate on this? Have you eliminated any other possibilities that makes the cab not stop for you? (e.g. it's not available, style of dress, mannerisms, lighting of the area, etc.) What happens if you call for the cab rather than try to just hail one on the street?


Posted by: trambusto | February 10, 2011 5:30 PM | Report abuse

metro is system of what ails this entire area...provide transportation for folks to get to work enjoy the city and then gouge them at the double/triple price for when they ride then cut/eliminate service...suggest folks to take metro to airports and then not be available when early flight or late flights...metro is a micocosm of the entire DC home rule issues.....and that is unable to govern and make quality decisions so therefore the govt must step in...problem is govt is no better at solutions....metro system is unreliable and too expensive....sad story folks...

Posted by: wmnatzakanian | February 10, 2011 5:50 PM | Report abuse

You mean Metro isn't working hard enough during the weekdays and weeknights to get the repairs completed correctly the first time?

Posted by: ImWithStupid | February 10, 2011 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Wonder how much money could be gained if metro starting charging for parking on the weekends? That is something I would hope they consider in connection with talks about reducing weekend train service

Posted by: emanon13 | February 10, 2011 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Closing early on weekends is a bad public policy. If savings can be found I would understand but a suitable replacement should be offered. Some cities run a bus that follows the same route as the trains during off hours. WMATA should do this until 3am on weekends and perhaps during all hours the rail is closed.

Posted by: proof | February 10, 2011 7:15 PM | Report abuse

How does Metro lose money on this service? It charges rush hour fares, only runs trains about once every 20 minutes, and the trains are packed.

Posted by: editor14 | February 10, 2011 7:41 PM | Report abuse

I am glad they are discussing options but closing the Metro at midnight would be a big mistake. I think they should be able to accomplish a great deal between 3 a.m. and opening. If that is too little, than let folks know at least a month ahead and only close it at midnight for one or two weekends, maybe four. Businesses do better because of Metro. As it is, it can be slow. Of course they need to work to fix, improve and maintain the trains and tracks, but alternatives are important. We push and push people to use public transportation - let's not limit it so much! One option might be to increase bus service those nights - have busses go from Metro stations to all the other Metro stations even if the inside is closed.

Posted by: debrazr | February 10, 2011 7:50 PM | Report abuse

One other thing to consider is parking downtown. You can either get raped by paying $10-$20 for the night in a commercial garage (depending on the neighborhood) or roll the dice with a meter, if you can find an open spot, and which you'll have to re-fill.

If it's a choice between paying peak of the peak fares between, say, 10pm-3am, or losing all late night service, I'd gladly pay the extra fare. Metro, and regional gov'ts in general, need to consider this as an important quality of life issue, not just a matter of giving themselves more time to do never-ending maintenance work.

Posted by: TimUVA1 | February 10, 2011 7:58 PM | Report abuse

This wouldn't be so bad if cabbies didn't discriminate against people living in certain neighborhoods. So you can't take metro, you can't get a cab to take you home, so what do you do if you don't have a car. And even if you have a car, good luck finding parking late night weekends. This city is ridiculous.

Posted by: echenna | February 10, 2011 8:07 PM | Report abuse

They need to come out of the dark ages. The buses and trains need to be 24/7. They need to use all this supposed "brain power" in this area and fix the system. The city wants to "compete" with larger cities - you can't do that shutting down metro service. The city wants to attract businesses - you can't do that shutting down service. If they can't fix the system now when it closes at 3am - three more hours won't change anything, closing it at midnight.

I actually trust my life in my car at night on the road with DUIs waiting to happen, than trusting my life on DC Metro death traps.

FIX.THE.SYSTEM.
FIX.THE.TRAINS.

Posted by: Libramom | February 10, 2011 8:17 PM | Report abuse

How completely shortsighted!
Besides - more time to do the work clearly isn't the problem.
The problem is that Metro is horribly mismanaged - how else do you explain 3 blue line trains in a row at rush hour, with orange line trains running almost 20 minutes apart, with no capacity to carry all the people stuffed onto the platforms?
Not to mention that the people who man the stations are lazy, rude and indifferent. I've never seen a bunch of people move so slowly in my life.
What metro needs to do is start firing the slugs - when these people realize they actually have to work for their money, things might improve.

Posted by: jeffc6578 | February 10, 2011 8:33 PM | Report abuse

Could either of you elaborate on this? Have you eliminated any other possibilities that makes the cab not stop for you? (e.g. it's not available, style of dress, mannerisms, lighting of the area, etc.) What happens if you call for the cab rather than try to just hail one on the street?

Sure. I'm 36, I manage an art gallery so I'm dressed in an Oxford, slacks and casual boots or dress shoes. I have not hailed a cab since Metro started the later closings, but before that I had to make sure a Police car was outside because they are always out in Adams Morgan. I would stand next to a squad car because it was always easier to get one that way, it was also times when an officer would have to flag one down for me too.

In one memorable instance an officer said to a hacker to either pick me up or turn off your dome light, and he actually turned it off! At that time I lived in Brookland, I live in Bladensburg now and parking in Adams Morgan is atrocious so I park at a Metro station and ride the train in.

Posted by: jbworldwide | February 10, 2011 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Last year the redline crash demonstrated some of the latent short-comings of the metrorail system, showing that the lack of maintenance due to underfunding did in fact cause problems, even if those problems did not manifest themselves on a regular basis. The FTA determined at that time it would cost approximately $50 billion to make the necessary changes and an additional $6 billion per year to maintain Metro at what they deemed an acceptable level. The problem is that the system has not received the necessary maintenance for several years now, putting wmata behind the ball and forcing passengers to endure cost-cutting measures (read: broken escalators) and fair increases. However, the reality of the situation is that neither fare increases, nor service cuts will close the gap, as metro faces a systemic problem of overexpansion.

Consider the metro funding structure as follows. The fare prices cover the general operating budget, which does not include maintenance or upgrades. The maintenance portion of the budget comes from federal and state funding and currently sits at $740 million. There is a bit of a deficit, considering the projected $6billion maintenance bill.

So, in a system where ridership does not contribute to maintenance and upkeep, it is not surprising that there is a budget shortfall. Instead of diverting federal dollars to the expansion of a system that already cannot sustain its maintenance burden, Metro should draw funding away from the silver line project in favor of bringing the entire system up to an acceptable operating standard. Increasing fares or reducing hours are just band-aids on a larger, systemic problem.

Posted by: progressivefiction | February 11, 2011 6:51 AM | Report abuse

Last year the redline crash demonstrated some of the latent short-comings of the metrorail system, showing that the lack of maintenance due to underfunding did in fact cause problems, even if those problems did not manifest themselves on a regular basis. The FTA determined at that time it would cost approximately $50 billion to make the necessary changes and an additional $6 billion per year to maintain Metro at what they deemed an acceptable level. The problem is that the system has not received the necessary maintenance for several years now, putting wmata behind the ball and forcing passengers to endure cost-cutting measures (read: broken escalators) and fair increases. However, the reality of the situation is that neither fare increases, nor service cuts will close the gap, as metro faces a systemic problem of overexpansion.

Consider the metro funding structure as follows. The fare prices cover the general operating budget, which does not include maintenance or upgrades. The maintenance portion of the budget comes from federal and state funding and currently sits at $740 million. There is a bit of a deficit, considering the projected $6billion maintenance bill.

So, in a system where ridership does not contribute to maintenance and upkeep, it is not surprising that there is a budget shortfall. Instead of diverting federal dollars to the expansion of a system that already cannot sustain its maintenance burden, Metro should draw funding away from the silver line project in favor of bringing the entire system up to an acceptable operating standard. Increasing fares or reducing hours are just band-aids on a larger, systemic problem.

Posted by: progressivefiction | February 11, 2011 6:52 AM | Report abuse

Last year the redline crash demonstrated some of the latent short-comings of the metrorail system, showing that the lack of maintenance due to underfunding did in fact cause problems, even if those problems did not manifest themselves on a regular basis. The FTA determined at that time it would cost approximately $50 billion to make the necessary changes and an additional $6 billion per year to maintain Metro at what they deemed an acceptable level. The problem is that the system has not received the necessary maintenance for several years now, putting wmata behind the ball and forcing passengers to endure cost-cutting measures (read: broken escalators) and fair increases. However, the reality of the situation is that neither fare increases, nor service cuts will close the gap, as metro faces a systemic problem of overexpansion.

Consider the metro funding structure as follows. The fare prices cover the general operating budget, which does not include maintenance or upgrades. The maintenance portion of the budget comes from federal and state funding and currently sits at $740 million. There is a bit of a deficit, considering the projected $6billion maintenance bill.

So, in a system where ridership does not contribute to maintenance and upkeep, it is not surprising that there is a budget shortfall. Instead of diverting federal dollars to the expansion of a system that already cannot sustain its maintenance burden, Metro should draw funding away from the silver line project in favor of bringing the entire system up to an acceptable operating standard. Increasing fares or reducing hours are just band-aids on a larger, systemic problem.

Posted by: progressivefiction | February 11, 2011 6:53 AM | Report abuse

Three things Metro...

1. I can never get a cab from DC that wants to cross the Potomac into Old Town Alexandria, they refuse service. Fix the cabbies DC.

2. Send a team to Hong Kong to see how trains should be built and run.

3. Integrate the smart card with all kinds of local businesses (i.e. 7-11, fast food, etc...)

DC is not going to become a world class city by shutting down services.

Posted by: classycoolsam | February 11, 2011 7:58 AM | Report abuse

How do they expect people to get home? Cabs? How about driving drunk? Definitely cheaper than cabs as long as you don't get caught. New DC ad campaign: Drinking and Driving - at least it reduces Metro operating expenses.

Posted by: DCexpat2 | February 11, 2011 9:00 AM | Report abuse

This is another example of the decline of this country. The failure of conservatives to see/admit that a healthy society invests in infrastructure (especially metro systems) means that as long as they have their way, this country will go down the toilet.

The selfishness of people who say only my interests matter is appalling and saddening. Lincoln summed it up well when he said a house divided cannot stand. Conservatives who are cutting budgets in education and infrastructure without raising taxes on the rich are destroying this country.

The rich can whine all they want but as long as income disparities grow and our government makes it harder and harder on the middle class to live, this country's future is very bleak.

Posted by: commonsense202 | February 11, 2011 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Who in their right mind would be out in DC after dark anyway?!?!?

Posted by: snowbucks | February 11, 2011 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Why not just charge peak rates after midnight - more revenue and no service cut - problem solved.

Posted by: long8cre1 | February 11, 2011 10:10 AM | Report abuse

How about a salary freeze or reduction? Does that close the gap? Do we NEED four 'station managers' standing around chatting with each other during morning and evening rush hours? When something inevitably goes wrong, they hide in the booth and don't answer questions. Metro is a joke.

And how about removing all platform escalators and put stairs in? Does that reduce the need for constant repairs?

Posted by: DCHillMan | February 11, 2011 10:11 AM | Report abuse

The fact remains Metro needs to be fixed. If they need to shutter metro at 12AM to gain maintenance time, fine. Cabs, buses, or designated drivers can replace Metro. After repairs are done and Metro is again running smoothly, extend closing time, and then stick to a maintenance schedule. Also, FIX the escalators. SUE the vendors of the existing escalators. MAKE IT WORK!

Posted by: bbirdy202 | February 11, 2011 10:12 AM | Report abuse

How about a salary freeze or reduction? Does that close the gap? Do we NEED four 'station managers' standing around chatting with each other during morning and evening rush hours? When something inevitably goes wrong, they hide in the booth and don't answer questions. Metro is a joke.

And how about removing all platform escalators and put stairs in? Does that reduce the need for constant repairs?

Posted by: DCHillMan | February 11, 2011 10:13 AM | Report abuse

getting a cab to rockville from adams morgan is a nightmare. cab drivers refuse to even go to bethesda. the same is true for getting cab back from dupont or georgetown. cabs do not want to leave dc. even if they did, if you are meeting friends out, that is a $25+ cab ride back to rockville. thats over $50 for transportation over the weekend or a dui (which metro seems to be encouraging). not to mention that half of the time trains are single tracking at some portion of the red line; trains are running once every 20+ minutes on either direction; and they are completely packed after 2am. customers have already endured significant fare hikes on an unreliable system. we should not be punished for metro's lack of compentency.

Posted by: mgallere | February 11, 2011 10:57 AM | Report abuse

"as a black man a cab is not an option"

Heh, apparently you've never looked at who is driving the cabs.

Posted by: getjiggly1
=====================================

You don't know what you're talking about. A black man has a problem getting a cab regardless of the race of the cabdriver - yes, even when the cabdriver is black himself.

I'm currently in New York on business. I'm a black man. Last night after dinner, I walked 8 blocks to Grand Central and stood in line for over half an hour in 17 degree temperatures. Want to know why? The Grand Central stall has a dispatcher who makes the cabdrivers pick up the first in line, regardless of what they look like. If I had just stood on the street corner, I likely wouldn't have gotten a cab, even though I was dressed in a suit and was carrying a laptop case. Why? because I'm black. NY cabdrivers usually refuse to pick up a black man in Manhattan after dark. Try hailing a cab and the "Off Duty" or "On Call" sign light up immediately.

Next time, check yourself before you open your yap.

Posted by: ceefer66 | February 11, 2011 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Those who keep saying post-midnight trips should be charged peak fares, they already are. If you look on Metro's website (or ever take the metro at that time), you will notice that, yes, anything after midnight is charged more (not peak-of-the-peak, which includes the extra 20c surcharge, but still the same peak fares charged during usual weekday rush hours).

I take the metro all the time during that timeframe and not only does it run very rarely, but when the train finally comes it is quite full precisely because it runs so infrequently.

Posted by: tigerlily1025 | February 11, 2011 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Not even having the option of mass rail transportation past midnight on the weekends is shameful for a real city.

How many events at Verizon Center, etc, would people have to leave early just to get home? That isn't right.

DC will never attract events like hosting some rounds of the NCAA Tournament again if it cannot provide transportation for people to attend.

And if I owned a bar/restaurant, I'd severely change my hours and expectations.

Posted by: BrokenClipboard | February 11, 2011 11:39 AM | Report abuse

The primary reason the cabbies do not want to take fares heading to destinations outside of DC is that they cannot pick up a return fare, as it's illegal for them to pick up street hails in Virginia or Maryland. (They are allowed to pick up at Reagan Airport via the cab line, but not at Dulles due to the Washington Flyer monopoly there.) The same phenomenon happens in New York, where even though the law requires them to take you to any point in the five boroughs many cabbies will refuse to go anywhere outside Manhattan other than to one of the airports or a nearby location, again because the trip is likely to leave them without a return fare. I've had success in getting cabbies to go to Brooklyn by saying, "I know you may be concerned about a return fare, and I'll give you a bigger tip." Of course I do not give them a tip that would equal the value of a return fare, but a couple of dollars extra, plus the cost of the Battery Tunnel toll back into the city, does wonders. For those folks trying to get cabs into Virginia or Maryland, maybe a similar tactic (minus the toll of course) might help.

Can't comment on the "hard for blacks to hail a cab" issue because I'm not black.

Posted by: 1995hoo | February 11, 2011 12:18 PM | Report abuse

So we've established that Metro's 3am service is there for professional black men in suits with briefcases. Totally worth $3 million, if only for the laughs.

Posted by: getjiggly1 | February 11, 2011 12:24 PM | Report abuse

So we've established that Metro's 3am service is for professional black men in suits with briefcases. Totally worth $3 million, if only for the laughs.

Posted by: getjiggly1 | February 11, 2011 12:26 PM | Report abuse

So we've established that Metro's 3am service is for professional black men in suits with briefcases. Totally worth $3 million, if only for the laughs.

Posted by: getjiggly1 | February 11, 2011 12:27 PM | Report abuse

So we've established that Metro's 3am service is for professional black men in suits with briefcases. Totally worth $3 million, if only for the laughs.

Posted by: getjiggly1 | February 11, 2011 12:28 PM | Report abuse

(Comment software sucks)

Posted by: getjiggly1 | February 11, 2011 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Do it.

If you can't get your blind-drunk on by 11:30, it's called an "After Party." Besides, isn't that where your drunk buttocks goes to get the real drugs anyway? I mean, who does a line at the bar?

People will adapt. Those that live reasonably within the district will take a cab. Those that live further out will get drunk closer to home. Realize that there are larger cities (based on central core--remember this doesn't affect "rush" hour(s)-- where mass transit stops well before the bars close. Boston. Denver. And how on earth do people close down the bars in the suburbs and get home? Further, for most people, the metro ride isn't long enough to sober up anyway. So they're still drunk-driving or drunk jaywalking anyway.

For the special events like football, inaug, et al... metro should be charging more for operating outside of their normal schedule. How about peak of the peak of the peak fares.

Those of you thinking the localities should pay up don't understand this issue. There are localities that would prefer that folks spend their entertainment money in their locality. They want the jobs in their locality too. Arlington wants people in Arlington to spend money in Arlington.

But, then again, its like totally such a plastic hassle. I mean shaaaa. OMG.

Posted by: NovaMike | February 11, 2011 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Could either of you elaborate on this? Have you eliminated any other possibilities that makes the cab not stop for you? (e.g. it's not available, style of dress, mannerisms, lighting of the area, etc.) What happens if you call for the cab rather than try to just hail one on the street?

Sure. I'm 36, I manage an art gallery so I'm dressed in an Oxford, slacks and casual boots or dress shoes. I have not hailed a cab since Metro started the later closings, but before that I had to make sure a Police car was outside because they are always out in Adams Morgan. I would stand next to a squad car because it was always easier to get one that way, it was also times when an officer would have to flag one down for me too.

In one memorable instance an officer said to a hacker to either pick me up or turn off your dome light, and he actually turned it off! At that time I lived in Brookland, I live in Bladensburg now and parking in Adams Morgan is atrocious so I park at a Metro station and ride the train in.

__________________________________________

Well I have found the answer... everyone knows you cannot wear an oxford, slacks, and boots..smh I wouldn't stop either

Posted by: LuvisLove | February 11, 2011 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Although the tube in London shuts early, there is a huge network of night buses. They run pretty much anywhere in London every 15 minutes. There are way too few night bus options around here, if they take out metro service late they definitely need to work something out with the bus network.

The only people who stand to benefit with a change like this is the crappy cab drivers that are constantly cutting you up.

Posted by: kjtuckley | February 11, 2011 7:37 PM | Report abuse

LOL at the Contrarian who called "more drunks on the road" a red herring. Yeah buddy, weekend drunks are a RESPONSIBLE lot. I can see it now.

"errrr uhhhhh yeah ish almost midnight bro we gotta ketch da metro and go home. That would be sponsible ting to do." Bedtime for young Johnny.

they'll lose track of time, panic (or not care), find their car and either get a dui or run someone over trying to get back home.

Posted by: Please_Fix_VAs_Roads | February 13, 2011 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Bottom Line: any cut in service is a sign of decay. I remember when Metro closed at 12 on weekends and it was a pain rushing to catch the last train. I also remember when it open at 10 on Sundays. That's when DC was a "lazy, hazy Southern" town.

Posted by: RobRoy1 | February 13, 2011 9:07 PM | Report abuse

I don't use the Metro at all- but I'm 100% down for it staying open to keep the drunks off the roads.

Posted by: novahokie2004 | February 13, 2011 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Let's do the math: in today's Express I read that metro wants to start closing metro on midnight on Friday and Saturday night because cost of it is 3.5million $ per year. They also said in Express Friday edition that average number of riders after midnight is 21000. So the math is 20000 riders x 3.5$ ( per ride on average ) x 104 (Fridays and Saturdays in a year combined) is 21000x3.5x104=7644000. So with cutting late night rides, metro will lose 7.6million $ from fares. So they’ll save 3.5million $ but lose 7.6 million $. Good job : they cut’ll the service and lose money.

Posted by: nick43 | February 15, 2011 12:24 AM | Report abuse

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