Nationals, Metro at odds over keeping trains running for playoffs

Barring an epic collapse, the Washington Nationals are going to make the playoffs for the first time since they moved to the District from Montreal.

Fans are excited about that, but many are also wondering how they'll get home if they go to the playoff games.

On Thursday Metro told ABC7 there were no new developments to announce regarding extending service so fans could get home from playoff games.

During the season many games start shortly after 7 p.m., which except in rare cases means they will end in time for fans to get back to the Metro and ride home.

But last season, many playoff games on the East Coast didn't start until after 8:30 p.m. and often ended after 11:30 p.m.

Games ending that late would mean trouble for Nats fans who ride Metro, especially those who have to transfer to the Red Line from the Green Line, which is the closest line to Nationals Park.

Metro tells ABC7 the last Green Line train heading south to Branch Avenue leaves at 12:17 a.m., which means fans may be able to catch it even during the playoffs.

But things get more dicey from there.

For fans taking the Green Line north to Greenbelt or taking it north to transfer to the Orange and Blue lines, the last train leaves at 11:39 p.m.

For fans transferring to the Red Line, their last chance is if they're on a train leaving at 11:20 p.m.

For fans to catch that last Red Line train, they'd likely have to walk out of the stadium by 11:10 p.m. at the latest. Many playoff games still have an inning or two to go at that point.

"You want to stay to the end of the game, because it might be a close game," said Nationals fan Jeff Belfore Thursday night.

Metro says to get an extra hour's service, the Nationals will have to do what it says the Redskins and other teams and events already do: put down a $29,500 advance payment, part of which would be refunded depending on how many fans rode Metro during the extra hour.

Metro says so far, the Nationals have not indicated they are willing to pay the amount.

Many fans say they need to.

"It's just ridiculous that they don't have that in place by now," said fan Suesser Belfore. "I think that could worry a lot of fans."