Update: Looks like Qatar changed its mind about paying $100,000 to keep D.C. trains running past 11:30 p.m. for Capitals fans on Thursday for Game 4.
Both parties are reportedly trying to “work things out,” but it’s unlikely a deal will be made.
The Washington Post included this quote from D.C. council member Jack Evans on Wednesday:
“[Qatari officials] signed the deal and sent it back, but they had made a change,” Evans said. “Metro can’t agree to any changes in the standard contract without approval from the Metro board. We’d have to go back to the board and have a meeting between now and tomorrow. They’re trying to figure out some way to deal with that, so it’s not over, but it’s not on either.”
Original story follows:
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:
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.
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.