Restaurants react to Metro hour cuts

Restaurants react to Metro hour cuts (ABC7)

Metro is cutting back hours and hitting the brakes on late-night service.

Some restaurants and businesses are now fearing the new schedule will take a bite out of their bottom line.

"It's definitely going to impact our guests getting here and leaving, so yes, our sales will be negatively impacted by that," said John Grace, general manager of The Hamilton in Northwest DC. “Even the staff working, after they finish work they probably won’t hang around either because they need to get home.”

The Metro board of directors voted Thursday to cut hours every day of the week for the next two years. Starting July 1, trains will stop running at 11:30 p.m. during the week and 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. On Sunday, trains will run from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Restaurants like The Hamilton have a steady late-night business.

"Washington, DC is known for our hospitality and nightlife and this is really going to impact that, and it's going to lower our sales and lower traffic coming into us because everyone is going to be concerned about getting home," Grace said.

Metro used to close at 3 a.m. Friday and Saturday, but service has been scaled back ever since SafeTrack started in June.

The Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington reported to the Downtown Dc Business Improvement District that sales have gone down as much as 20% due to eliminating late-night service during SafeTrack. Officials at DowntownDC BID said the new hours will impact more than just restaurants.

"There is a nighttime economy that is built on late-night hours and without that there is job loss and income loss,” said Ellen Jones, director of Infrastructure at DowntownDC BID. “It affects hotels, it affects all the service industries that support the hospitality industry in Downtown DC."

Metro's general manager Paul Wiedefeld has argued more track work can be done by cutting back service.

Jones said DowntownDC BID supports increased maintenance, but it wants the assurance progress is being made.

“We want to know how it’s going, we want to hear back about the amount of improvements being made,” Jones said.

“I agree safety is a priority, I just wish there was an alternative,” Grace said.

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