Metro ex­tends ser­vice to mid­night for In­de­pen­dence Day cel­e­bra­tions

The Washington Times Daily - - METRO - BY JASON TIDD

Metro of­fi­cials have changed their minds about cut­ting ser­vice hours on the Fourth of July, an­nounc­ing late Tues­day that the sub­way will re­main open un­til mid­night after hav­ing said ear­lier it would close at 11:30 p.m.

No rea­son was given for the change to a mid­night close for the hol­i­day, other than to pro­vide “an ad­di­tional half hour of ser­vice for cus­tomers re­turn­ing from fes­tiv­i­ties on the Na­tional Mall and around the re­gion.”

Metro’s new hours, which be­gan Sun­day, call for an 11:30 p.m. close Mon­day through Thurs­day.

The mid­night close for In­de­pen­dence Day will be the same as last year, but sub­way ser­vice closed at 3 a.m. in 2015 and 2014.

Mean­while, the an­nual fire­works dis­play, which about 700,000 peo­ple at­tend, is sched­uled to start at 9:09 p.m. over the Na­tional Mall, ac­cord­ing to the Dis­trict’s web­site. Metro av­er­ages more than 600,000 pas­sen­gers on week­days.

Bar and restau­rant man­agers said the ser­vice cut will af­fect their cus­tomers, em­ploy­ees and bot­tom line.

Busi­ness usu­ally booms at Fado Ir­ish Pub in North­west after the fire­works show, said gen­eral man­ager Michelle Ste­wart.

“It hap­pens lit­er­ally 10 min­utes after the fire­works end, so most of our busi­ness on the Fourth of July is the time around the end of the fire­works,” she said.

Ms. Ste­wart said Fado will be swamped un­til mid­night on the Fourth, “or when­ever now the Metro will be de­part­ing.” Fado al­ready has felt the ef­fects of re­duced hours on their late night busi­ness, es­pe­cially after sport­ing events.

“Peo­ple don’t come out in the neigh­bor­hood like they used to,” she said. “They go down to the Metro and go right home.”

Marvin Deal, shift man­ager at The Greene Tur­tle Sports Bar and Grille, said the Metro hours cut will have its great­est im­pact on week­ends.

Busi­ness at the bar and grill, which is con­nected to the Ver­i­zon Cen­ter in Chi­na­town, is driven by events. Metro hour cuts have led to kitchen staff and cus­tomers leav­ing about an hour and a half ear­lier.

“We’re los­ing money on the back end,” Mr. Deal said. “I would say about $3,000 or $4,000 [on nights with events].”

In South­west, a McDon­ald’s man­ager is tak­ing it upon her­self to get her em­ploy­ees home after work on the Fourth. If they don’t have other rides, Yeilin Bustillo said she will drive them home.

She said this will be her first Fourth of July at this restau­rant, but she ex­pects fewer cus­tomers to come in later be­cause of the ear­lier Metro clos­ing.

Sal’s Cafe in South­west usu­ally stays open un­til 1 a.m., but owner Syed Wahid will send work­ers home two hours early so they can ride Metro.

“It’s go­ing to be so dif­fi­cult for my em­ploy­ees to go back home … we have to let them go and I have to work [by] my­self,” he said.

Metro Gen­eral Man­ager Paul Wiede­feld has cut ser­vice hours and raised fares in an ef­fort to shore up the trou­bled tran­sit sys­tem’s fi­nances. Most Metro­rail fares in­creased by 10 or 25 cents; Metrobus fares rose by 25 cents.

“If you want to be a world-class city, I feel like you should have a world-class public trans­porta­tion sys­tem,” Ms. Ste­wart said. “If you want peo­ple to come in and ex­pe­ri­ence what D.C. has to of­fer from ar­eas be­yond our lit­tle dis­trict here, you have to give them a safe, af­ford­able way to get there.”

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