Washington Metro Qatar markets in everything

Metro significantly relaxed its policies on extended hours for the Washington Capitals’ run to the Stanley Cup Final, including extending service for Thursday night’s series win without ever planning for any cash to change hands, WTOP has learned.

Since last summer, Metro has required a $100,000 deposit for each additional hour of service, and Metro suggested Wednesday that the Capitals’ parent company, Monumental Sports and Entertainment, would cover those costs for Thursday night’s game.

In fact, Thursday night’s extended service was part of a trade between the Caps and Metro that Metro valued at $100,000, Metro spokesman Dan Stessel said in an email…

Revised requirements issued last year normally call for the $100,000 deposit two weeks ahead of an event for each extra hour of service. Instead, Metro is billing each of the other groups that agreed to pay for the extended service for Capitals playoff games after the fact, Stessel said…

The bills being sent to those other groups — Qatar (via the Downtown BID), Comcast and Uber — will already include the discount for any fares paid during extended hours of service.

Here is the bizarre story, via Bruce Arthur.  For those of you who don’t get the joke, the D.C. Metro system shuts down too early relative to when many sporting events are likely to end.

Comments

There is nothing particularly bizarre about an organization reacting flexibly to unpredictable circumstances. After all, it wasn't as if anyone knew two weeks ahead of time when the Capitals would win the Stanley Cup, regardless of how one uses '....' to obscure what the article describes - ' ... The two-weeks advance notice and upfront deposit is normally required so that Metro can adjust track work and other schedules.

“We have not required advance deposits for the postseason Caps sponsorships, in recognition of the tight time constraints,” he said.'

I think the joke is about how deeply inflexible Metro is usually, and how it almost never runs for night games.

Possibly, but as noted below, the real joke likely involves comparing the subways of the city that never sleeps with the transit system of the city of the 9-5 civil servant.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

"For those of you who don’t get the joke, ..."

if you have to explain your "joke" -- it ain't a good joke

... and state your main point first if being serious

I am not sure if this is what Professor Cowen is referring to, but it seems like Metro is gaming the system: shut down early to force sporting teams to pay the $100,000 per hour.

Metro is not gaming any system - it has always been a limited hours operation compared to NYC subways. Which made plenty of sense back when Metrorail was being built, as the only relevant pro team in DC was the Redskins, who did not play often at night in the 1970s.

And wikipedia does a good job explaining Metro's operating hours over the past 4 decades - 'Until 1999, Metro ended service at midnight every night, and weekend service began at 8 am. That year, WMATA began late night service on Fridays and Saturdays until 1 am. By 2007, with encouragement from businesses, that closing time had been pushed back to 3 am, with peak fares in effect for entries after midnight. There were plans floated to end late night service due to costs in 2011, but they were met with resistance by riders. WMATA temporarily discontinued late night rail service on May 30, 2016, so that Metro can conduct an extensive track rehabilitation program in an effort to improve the system's reliability.

On June 25, 2017, Metro changed its hours of operation with closing at 11:30 PM Monday–Thursday, 1 AM on Friday and Saturday, and 11 PM on Sunday, with the last trains leaving the end stations inbound about half an hour before these times'

That's right, for its first two decades, Metro went from being a rail coach to a pumpkin at the stroke of midnight 7 nights a week.

Isn't early closure OK because America is basically full of Mormons who never go out drinking? And if they do, they just drive home after a few drinks? In Paris (and many other European cities) shutting down Metro at midnight, particularly on weekends, would seem like a huge joke.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

There's nothing wrong with the joke aside from the fact that 90some percent of the world doesn't know the operating hours they work with. For a select part of the population, it's fine

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Metro is in a tough spot - admittedly largely self inflicted. With that said, this policy never seemed crazy to me - I assume someone looked at the normal late hour rider volumes and the costs. To require that someone guarantee some minimum level of revenue to stay open late for specific events actually makes a lot of sense. And the deal they struck here actually sounds like a very good one for both sides - barter, and for a full $100K (not reduced by actual volume). So I really don't see the issue.

...and to be clear, the tough spot they are in is dealing with declining ridership without doing things that make it even less of a viable transportation alternative (causing ridership to continue to decline, creating a death spiral).

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Why would Qatar (that's a country) agree to pay for the extra hours of service? You know, Qatar, the country in a dispute (and subject to an embargo) with our "ally" Saudi Arabia. I don't believe they even play hockey in the desert. As for Comcast, well, it wouldn't have anything to do with net neutrality, would it? Uber, well, that makes sense: Uber collects from users of Uber and collects from users of the Metro (the company agreeing to pay for the extra hours of Metro service gets the fees Metro collects during the extra hours). And I suppose each of Qatar, Comcast, and Uber benefits in the same way: it's somewhat tarnished reputation in D.C. gets a lift, like those riding the Metro after-hours.

Respond

Add Comment

See, in Chicago, we don't have that problem because the trains run late enough every day.

Has the Metro even tried to keep track of night games in the area? It's not as if these things aren't known long in advance, except for playoffs, and even then, contingencies can be planned well ahead of time, and potential dates for pivotal home games are also known in advance.

Also, has can the Metro do a surcharge for the sporting events? Surely a $5-10 surcharge on top of a metro ticket is a better deal for many metro-train-loads of cars worth of people than the alternative.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment