The Metro in Washington, D.C., usually closes at 11:30 p.m. on weeknights. This is one of many things about the local train system that infuriates people who live here.
Metro’s early closing time is a particular problem after some sporting events. Many thousands of people ride the train to games at the Capitals and Wizards’ home, Capital One Arena, and to Nationals Park on the banks of the Anacostia River. Most games finish with enough time for people to train on out of there, but some don’t.
The Capitals are in the Eastern Conference Final against the Lightning this week. The home games have listed start times of 8 p.m., which really means closer to 8:10 or 8:15. Most hockey games run about two and a half hours (though overtime can make them a lot longer), and it takes some time for people to filter out of an arena and onto Metro trains, even though the closest station is literally underneath the arena.
Enter Qatar, which is rescuing Caps fans after Thursday’s Game 4.
That’s Qatar, the country, which is about 7,000 air miles from D.C.
Here’s the Washington Post explaining a few days ago:
D.C. Council member Jack Evans, also chair of the Metro board, said last week that he had been in discussions with a couple of companies that were considering paying the $100,000 fee to keep Metro open an additional hour, and Exelon and Pepco stepped up for Tuesday night.
On Tuesday, Evans told The Washington Post that the tiny, wealthy nation of Qatar has agreed to pay the $100,000 fee to keep Metro open until 12:30 a.m. on Thursday, when the Capitals host Game 4. That game also is set for an 8 p.m. start.
Evans led a delegation of D.C. government officials and private business representatives to Qatar and the United Arab Emirates last April in hopes of getting foreign investors interested D.C. projects. The government of Qatar previously invested heavily in the development of D.C.’s City Center.
The deal reportedly fell apart after that. But then, D.C.’s mayor said it was on:
Qatar and the @DowntownDCBID teamed up years ago to deliver City Center DC. Today, they’re doing it again to deliver late night Metro service to Caps fans. Beat the rain and Lightning, take Metro and let’s #GoCaps! @Amb_AlThani @QatarEmbassyUSA #ALLCAPS— Mayor Muriel Bowser (@MayorBowser) May 17, 2018
Maybe Qatar’s government thinks it curry favor with D.C.’s political class — which includes plenty of hockey fans — by helping them ride a train later at night? I don’t know.