By Brian Tinsman

WASHINGTON — The Washington Nationals have had a public, ongoing spat with WMATA, the governing body for Metrorail, dating back to the 2012 season.

Nationals Park is located on the Green line’s Navy Yard-Ballpark Metrorail stop and provides reliable service if the games start on time, don’t have a rain delay, and don’t go to extra innings. If they do, the team has had the option of keeping the doors open for its fans at the cost of approximately $30,000 per hour, a number that gets offset and refunded by the cost of rider fares.

In years past, the team has very publicly declined to pay that amount, instead relying on such sponsorship partners as Living Social and American University to foot the bill.

With huge changes to Metro’s hours and service in the last year, the mystery over whether or not the Nationals will play nice with Metro during the season and possible postseason is solved early this year: almost certainly not.

According to a letter from Lynn Bowersox, Metro’s assistant general manager, to WAMU (via the Washington Business Journal), Metro “can consider up to 10 events of extended system hours over the next year.”

If the Nationals make it to the postseason, they could play as many as 10 and as few as two home games. However, even if they did choose to pay, it would cost a much heftier price this time around.

To qualify, event organizers would have to make a $100,000 deposit for each additional hour the rail system would stay open, as well as cover the costs associated with extending its service, according to the WAMU report.

The request would also have to be made well enough in advance to ensure planned track work can be rescheduled.

This year, Metro made such an exception for Inauguration weekend but chose not to open early for other events, such as the Marine Corps Marathon, as it had in past years.

Even if the Nationals wanted to pay to keep Metro open–which they haven’t–the erratic schedule of the postseason likely would not allow it to be scheduled in advance. That means Nats fans can start planning for alternate postseason transit now if they aren’t afraid of jinxes.

Metro’s new hours will begin on June 25, with the following hours of service:

Monday: 5 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Tuesday: 5 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Wednesday: 5 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Thursday: 5 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Friday: 5 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Saturday: 7 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Sunday: 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Additionally, for most Metrorail customers, fares will increase by 10-25 cents. A new one-day unlimited rail/bus pass will be available for $14.75. Regular Metrobus fares will rise to $2, a 25 cent increase from $1.75.


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