A postseason transportation crisis has been averted in Washington, D.C. The Washington Post reported Thursday afternoon that a "third party" had paid the $29,500 deposit required to keep D.C.'s Metro rail system open an hour after its scheduled closing time on days when the Nationals have a home playoff game.
Later Thursday afternoon, it was revealed that D.C.-based online deal and discount dispenser LivingSocial had put up the money.
Exactly who would pony up had been a matter of intense debate leading up to and following the Nationals clinching a postseason berth last week. The Nationals had asked the District to pay for the extended service, a request which was declined. Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley indicated earlier this week that they might be amenable to putting up some of the cash as well.
According to Metro's schedule, the last northbound Green Line train -- which carries the majority of fans away from the ballpark after games -- departs the Navy Yard station (the closest to Nationals Park) at approximately 11:40 p.m. between Sunday and Thursday, with the last southbound train departing at approximately midnight. On Fridays and Saturdays, the last northbound Green Line train departs at 2:33 a.m., while the last southbound Green Line train leaves at approximately 3 a.m.
Under the new plan, service will be extended an extra hour for any postseason games that start at 8 p.m. between Sunday and Thursday. If the game goes past 11:45 p.m., a second additional hour of service would be triggered. This means that Metro would stay open as late as 2 a.m. if playoff games go long on those days.
The earliest date on which the Nationals would host a postseason game would be Friday, October 5, when they would host a Wild Card play-in game. If the Nationals clinch the National League Eastern Division title, the first postseason game they would play at Nationals Park would likely be Game 3 of the NLDS, which is scheduled to take place on either Tuesday, October 9 or Wednesday, October 10.
D.C. sports teams paying to extend Metro service to accommodate late-running playoff games is not unheard of. Most recently, the Capitals paid to have Metro running an extra hour after closing time when Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals between the Capitals and the New York Rangers went to triple overtime.