Greater Greater Washington

Bar owners worry about Metro late-night service cuts

The Calvert Street Bridge is the only connection between Adams Morgan and the closest Metro station, Woodley Park-Zoo/Adams Morgan. It's not unusual to see a steady stream of pedestrians crossing the bridge on weekends. But that may change if Metro cuts late-night service.


18th and Columbia Streets, NW. Photo by the author.

Throughout the debate over whether or not Metro should cut the service for financial reasons, owners and managers at bars, clubs, and lounges in DC and beyond have been concerned about what impact such a change would have on their businesses and way of life in the region.

Matt Cronin is the owner of The District on 18th Street NW, dubbed one of the city's "hottest" nightclubs. He is one of dozens of Adams Morgan business owners furious about the proposal.

Cronin worries that lost tax revenue to the city will exceed the amount WMATA will save if service is cut. "I want to see the numbers make sense," he said. He predicts his business will probably drop 20% on Fridays and Saturdays, and that a number of the city's establishments will go under. "The whole District will be damaged by it," he worries.

Cronin predicts such a dramatic loss because weekend parking in Adams Morgan is already at critical mass, and there will be no method of transportation to replace Metro. "It's a horrible parking situation," he laments, "We do a valet, but the valet fills up."

The Woodley Park station, about a half-mile away from one of the top club districts on the East Coast, is one of the most utilized Metro stations between midnight and 3 am. Cronin also expressed concerns over drunk drivers, and taxi shortages plaguing Adams Morgan come last call. "This is the capital of the free world, and to have a Metro that doesn't run past midnight is just embarrassing."

Just outside the District, the concerns about cutting Metro's late-night service are not tied to losing business. At Union Jack's in Ballston, operations manager Anthony Murphy actually believes business will increase if the changes take effect. (Full disclosure: I am a former bouncer at Union Jack's in Bethesda and Anthony Murphy is my brother.).


Union Jack's. Photo by the author.
Union Jack's has locations adjacent to both the Ballston and Bethesda Metro stations; despite this, Murphy states that "people will not Metro into the city, instead staying the the suburban area closer to their homes." At both locations, you walk past a parking garage to get to the Metro station.

Even with the potential for more business, there are concerns about the changes. Murphy worries about drunk driving. "If a bar can be held accountable for a drunk guy getting behind the wheel of a car, then the Metro should also be held accountable if they make this change."

Union Jack's will also likely close their kitchens earlier. "Many of our back-of-the-house employees depend on Metro to get home," Murphy said, "This change could create a lot of unemployment in the industry." Murphy's wife, Paige, also relies on Metro to get to her job as a bartender at the Chesapeake Room on Barracks Row near the Eastern Market Metro station.

The increase in business, it seems, is just not worth the added liabilities. "Metro should do a bake sale or a car wash or whatever they have to do to get the funds to not keep the Metro from shutting down earlier, but also maybe have it stay open later," said Murphy, calling the service cuts an "irresponsible move."

Indeed, bar owners throughout the city are weary. If the late-night service cuts happen, it could mean drastic changes in revenue, increased liability issues, and difficulty for employees getting to and from work.

In the meantime, Metro will continue to serve tens of thousands of customers during weekend late nights. And for hundreds of gussied up bar patrons, the late night parade across the Calvert Street Bridge will remain a staple of the Adams Morgan night life experience.

Dave Murphy is a Geographic Analyst for the Department of Defense and a US Army veteran. He is also a part time bouncer. He was born in Foggy Bottom and is a lifelong resident of the DC area. He currently resides in the Eckington neighborhood of Northeast. 

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the business want WMATA to stay open late but WMATA has a budget shortfall and i dont want to see fares rasied to keep the system open late on the weekend, WMATA and the cities/county served by WMATA should pose a special tax on business that stay open late and could benefit from the system being open pass midnight

by Jerome on Mar 30, 2011 1:15 pm • linkreport

If DC bars would like to offer to pay a "BID like" tax directly to WMATA to pay for late night service, or if riders are willing to foot higher fares to pay for it, fine.

We really delved into this in detail not that long ago. To keep hundreds of WMATA employees on the clock and 86 stations open so some bar in Adams Morgan doesn't lose what he claims will be 20% of his business is ridiculous.

Facts are, the entire regional system sees 13,000 total trips in 12-3 time frame Friday and Saturday. ~65% of those trips are taken in the 12-2 time frame.

Bar owners were running the flag of anarchy up the flag pole when DC decided to ban smoking, claiming it was going to take half their business. We see how that worked out.

Increase the prices to pay for it or shut it down. The miniscule number of people who use it during that time frame don't come close in warranting to keep it open.

by freely on Mar 30, 2011 1:29 pm • linkreport

@Jerome

Businesses already DO pay taxes into WMATA. Given that the late-night businesses pay the same taxes as everybody else, and actually receive *less* metro service during their business hours, why should we be punishing them further?

by andrew on Mar 30, 2011 1:34 pm • linkreport

This is about maintenance. It's not about the money to keep the system open at that time. Metro only mentioned closing early because they want a longer time period available to conduct uninterrupted maintenance.

Is DC willing to put up the money to hire more staff so that more maintenance can get done during shorter maintenance windows?

by Michael Perkins on Mar 30, 2011 1:35 pm • linkreport

I'm glad you focus on bar workers and kitchen staff a bit, rather than patrons.

GGW writers are former bouncers? Remind me not to pick on Ken Archer so much.

by charlie on Mar 30, 2011 1:37 pm • linkreport

@Michael

This is about maintenance. It's not about the money to keep the system open at that time. Metro only mentioned closing early because they want a longer time period available to conduct uninterrupted maintenance.

I don't buy it. Metro surely won't be doing maintenance on the entire system at night. Why do they then need to shut the entire system down early in order to do maintenance?

The idea to cut late night service in the name of maintenance is using a hatchet when you should be using a scalpel.

As Dave's piece illustrates, this decision has consequences. Cutting this service will hurt tax revenues. Most importantly, it will set the region back from the place it wants to be.

by Alex B. on Mar 30, 2011 1:42 pm • linkreport

@Alex B.

Agreed. Closing a line at a time, single-tracking, closing downtown and under-utilized stations are all better options than shutting down the whole system early.

by Adam L on Mar 30, 2011 1:51 pm • linkreport

Stupid question: does WMATA workers get paid more for working past midnight -- not overtime, just "major pain in the ass hours" pay?

Run Circulator until 5 AM?

by charlie on Mar 30, 2011 1:55 pm • linkreport

I believe that if it were purely maintenance driven, this wouldn't be heralded as a permanent change the way it has been. If this were, say a three month thing, I doubt there would be the uproar.

by Dave Murphy on Mar 30, 2011 1:57 pm • linkreport

@Michael Perkins

If this is actually about maintenance then WMATA should put together a plan for maintenance they need to do and which lines need to be closed, etc. Getting rid of late night service completely in the name of maintenance is just an excuse to #1 be lazy (because they won't have to run alternative bus service to replace it) and #2 never bring the service back ever because "hey look how much we're saving without it!"

by MLD on Mar 30, 2011 1:58 pm • linkreport

With regard to the smoking ban, there is a capacity issue here. When DC banned smoking in bars, it didn't change bars' capacity at all. Arguably, non-smokers who might otherwise not have gone to the bar started pouring in.

But if Metro service disappears, those thousands of patrons have no way to get to places like Adams Morgan. There is no replacement in line to handle a few thousand night owls headed to Adams Morgan or U Street. Parking and traffic are at capacity. And do we want night owls driving home from Adams Morgan anyway?

by Dave Murphy on Mar 30, 2011 2:01 pm • linkreport

Is DC willing to put up the money to hire more staff so that more maintenance can get done during shorter maintenance windows?

Wait, why would DC put up the money? It sounds like the majority of the riders being served are residents of the suburbs (both bar patrons and workers). Shouldn't MD and VA be paying for it?

(I'm only half-joking...)

by oboe on Mar 30, 2011 2:04 pm • linkreport

@Alex: By making the default amount of operating time not enough to perform adequate maintenance, you make the maintenance side of the house have to fight to close down the system.

Since operating the system is so lucrative for DC, they should be willing to put up the money to provide additional staff so more maintenance can get done during shorter hours. Those staff don't have to be technicians, they could also be engineers that write more thorough work packages or streamline procedures. They could be techs or helpers that create staged work kits so all items are immediately available at the work site.

by Michael Perkins on Mar 30, 2011 2:13 pm • linkreport

What hasn't been answered is why WMATA needs so much time to do maintenance. Wasn't it pointed out that BART - which has a similar system - is able to get all of their work done with fewer hours of down time?

And I agree with Alex that they should instead to partial shut downs. If the concern is that maintenance will have to request late night shut downs on lines, don't make that happen. Schedule all the line closures on a rotating basis based on expected need. So every four weeks could look like this for Friday Saturday

Orange line unique - Entire Orange line
Red line - Red line
Blue line unique - Entire Blue line and overlapping yellow
Yellow and green unique - Entire Green line

In months with a fifth weekend call an audible. That would remove some confusion too.

by David C on Mar 30, 2011 2:28 pm • linkreport

It's like we're in a time machine back to last month!

WMATA has money problems. They need more. And they have maintenance problems. They need to do it better and more frequently.

But we don't really know if this issue is money or maintenance or both.

Unless I missed something over the last few weeks.

by WRD on Mar 30, 2011 2:34 pm • linkreport

@Michael

I'm not convinced that the current amount of downtime isn't enough. Matt Johnson has shown on this site that we already have more downtime than almost all of our peer systems.

Likewise, simply saying "we need to shut it down for maintenance" isn't convincing to me. Shutting down late night means curtailing Metro's primary purpose as the main mode of transportation for a great deal of the region. If Metro wants to skirt that obligation, then they need to show why this is necessary - why the maintenance can't be done in a shorter window, why the maintenance requires shutting down the entire system, why this maintenance is different from routine maintenance, etc.

Metro has not yet made that case.

by Alex B. on Mar 30, 2011 2:36 pm • linkreport

"By making the default amount of operating time not enough to perform adequate maintenance, you make the maintenance side of the house have to fight to close down the system."

If Metro's operational culture is dysfunctional enough that maintenance has to fight for time to conduct needed repairs, then Metro's culture needs to change.

In New York, the subway is open 24/7, but lines close regularly at late night for repairs. In fact, during my last visit the L train was severely curtailed after 11pm on a Friday night. And that is a service that connects a lot of nightlife areas.

by Phil on Mar 30, 2011 2:42 pm • linkreport

Michael: If the maintenance division has to fight to get a closure then change the culture. Or have the maintenance division set out a plan for how many closures they need, and when, and have the GM and/or Board sign off.

Wanting to close every night just to make it easier to schedule maintenance is the tail wagging the dog. You're making service decisions not based on what's best for riders but what's easiest for the organization. That's why we're having this debate but it's the wrong approach.

by David Alpert on Mar 30, 2011 2:49 pm • linkreport

Take a cab, use Cabi, WALK or just stay home. Why should I subsidize late-night boozers?

by snowpeas on Mar 30, 2011 2:51 pm • linkreport

You can't recommend that people "use Cabi." Drunk cycling is just as illegal as drunk driving, and the penalties are the same.

by Phil on Mar 30, 2011 2:57 pm • linkreport

I'll agree wholeheartedly that Metro has done a terrible job communicating why the extra downtime would be useful. Their latest board presentation on the issue was nearly useless and did not provide the proper context.

by Michael Perkins on Mar 30, 2011 2:58 pm • linkreport

@ David C -- I'm not sure about BART's maintenance compared with Metro, but the schedules aren't too far apart. BART opens an hour earlier on weekdays and Saturday. But closes three hours earlier on Fri/Sat and opens an hour later on Sunday.

BART
Weekdays (4:00 am - Midnight)
Saturday (6:00 am - Midnight)
Sunday (8:00 am - Midnight)

by Mike B on Mar 30, 2011 2:59 pm • linkreport

Why should I subsidize late-night boozers?

Because the positive externalities you gain outweigh the price you pay in subsidies.

Considering that you subsidize late-night boozers who use cars, walk or take CaBi, why shouldn't you subsidize late-night boozers who prefer transit?

by David C on Mar 30, 2011 3:01 pm • linkreport

I don't own a car. Why should my tax dollars subsidize roads for polluting car owners?

by Phil on Mar 30, 2011 3:04 pm • linkreport

@Phil:

You can't recommend that people "use Cabi." Drunk cycling is just as illegal as drunk driving, and the penalties are the same.

Oh, please. I'll worry about that when the *second* cyclist in DC's history is arrested for drunk cycling. Drunk driving and drunk cycling are simply not equivalent.

I heartily encourage everyone to take CaBi if you've been drinking. At least up until the point where you're utterly tanked.

by oboe on Mar 30, 2011 3:07 pm • linkreport

No doubt this service cut would result in more drunk driving, that alone is worth saving the service in my opinion. Not "subsidizing late night boozers"

by Dave Murphy on Mar 30, 2011 3:08 pm • linkreport

I don't have a kid in DCPS. Why should my tax dollars subsidize schools?

I don't work in an office building. Why should my tax dollars subsidize fire protection for downtown?

I don't go to Glover Park much. Why should my tax dollars cover police patrolling that area?

I never throw anything away in Riggs Park. Why should my tax dollars subsidize trash pickup there?

I haven't littered on the Southwest Waterfront. Why should my tax dollars pay for street sweeping there?

Why have we become a society where people resent any service that's provided for the common good and which improves our city but which we don't personally take advantage of?

by David Alpert on Mar 30, 2011 3:09 pm • linkreport

Wasn't it pointed out that BART - which has a similar system

BART has half the number of stations as Metro, and IIRC, even fewer than half the number of switches. It's in all likelihood an easier system to maintain. However, the increased distance between stations would make single-tracking trickier.

by andrew on Mar 30, 2011 3:09 pm • linkreport

Yes, subsidizing public schools is comparable to keeping metro open late at night so folks can go drinking. The greater good of late-night drinking falls flat.

by snowpeas on Mar 30, 2011 3:21 pm • linkreport

"Why have we become a society where people resent any service that's provided for the common good and which improves our city but which we don't personally take advantage of?"

When we start talking about externalities....

by charlie on Mar 30, 2011 3:24 pm • linkreport

People will go drinking Metro or not. What keeping metro opens does is let them have a safe, low-polluting, non-congestion causing ride.

by David C on Mar 30, 2011 3:24 pm • linkreport

"Why have we become a society where people resent any service that's provided for the common good and which improves our city"

Really? The bar crowd constitues the common good? Please tell me one legitimate way that paying millions of dollars a year to keep a REGIONAL metro system covering 5.5 million people open expressly for 13,000 bar folk (spread over 3 hours mind you) constitutes "the common good"? Did you really just equate public education with a late night bar train?

And the DUI thing is a poor excuse, not a legitimate reason. It isn't my fault or problem that supposed adults can't make sufficient plans to have a good time AND get themselves home at night.

by freely on Mar 30, 2011 3:26 pm • linkreport

We are not talking about a few bars here. There are thousands of liquor establishments in the city. The average margin of profit on a good month is 10%. If you remove the ability for large numbers of there patrons to safely commute there will be hundreds of businesses going under. My establishments tax revenue to the city alone exceeds $400,000 a year. Lose a couple hundred of those numbers and your in trouble.

by Matt C. on Mar 30, 2011 3:27 pm • linkreport

@snowpeas,

Yes, subsidizing public schools is comparable to keeping metro open late at night so folks can go drinking.

Yes, and public education is less important than an effective fire department. So by your logic, we should eliminate DCPS as well.

by oboe on Mar 30, 2011 3:29 pm • linkreport

Also, San Francisco isn't as dependent on BART as DC is on the Metro. SF also has trolley lines and light rail that provide wider service coverage. BART is probably viewed as more of a commuter rail service.

by BART on Mar 30, 2011 3:30 pm • linkreport

And we aren't just talking about people going to bars. Not everyone riding Metro after midnight is drunk or was drinking.

I hate to sound like a broken record player, but - in addition to figuring out the maintenance issue - we need to see a cost benefit analysis. How much is metro paying per customer during late night? How does this compare to other times of the day? How does this compare to the "Value" of that trip?

Regionally we should have an idea of the value of a trip when we calculate all the positive externalities. It might vary during the time of day. Then we can look at how much we're paying and compare that to see if it is "worth it". Otherwise we're just guessing - and emotionally so.

We should only subsidize trips that are worth it. If we can't afford to subsidize every trip that is worth it, then we should subsidize those that give the best value.

by David C on Mar 30, 2011 3:34 pm • linkreport

The issue isn't about safe commuting (take a cab, the taxi drivers will gladly take your money), it's about cheap transportation which cost a whole lot more than late-night users put in). I think it is unreasonable and selfish to want to keep the system open when it drains money from the system. Frankly, I am not opposed to keeping it open if riders pay a premium for a safe, pollution-reducing metro ride.

by snowpeas on Mar 30, 2011 3:42 pm • linkreport

"We are not talking about a few bars here. There are thousands of liquor establishments in the city.".

This actually works against your argument more that supporting it.

Because there are only a "few" patron, not a large number.

We KNOW there are a total of 13000 people spread over 3 hours. You are saying those 13K people are spread over "thousands" of establishments. What you just did was basically say that even if every last person who currently uses the "booze train" stopped going out, the average loss of customers per DC establishment would be a whopping ~6 customers per night or ~12 customers over the weekend. Not exactly biblical destruction

And as a good friend to the owner of what will remain an unidentified "middle of the price range" bar in Clarendon, your profit margin is woefully hilarious. Beer carries a markup of anywhere from 200-400%, cocktails anywhere from 600-1000% markup. Frankly put, this guy pulls a personal income of just north of 200K a year on one bar, so I'd like to see what health-code violation bars you hang out at that run a 10% margin.

Even so, you yourself admitted the place you own(or work in) pulls 400K in profits a year on 4 million bucks a year in gross revenue. Hardly an example of a bad economy.

by freely on Mar 30, 2011 3:44 pm • linkreport

Why have we become a society where people resent any service that's provided for the common good and which improves our city but which we don't personally take advantage of?"

Because it's easy, lazy and unproductive. For instance, "I don't want my tax dollars funding dog parks and bike lanes" is an easy, unproductive and lazy argument. But, the reasonable counter IS that it is for the common good, whether I use it or not.

Another easy, lazy and unproductive argument: why keep the system open for drunks.

I also find it hard to believe that the 45 days gained by closing the entire system early will significantly improve metrorail operations.

by HogWash on Mar 30, 2011 3:44 pm • linkreport

@ snowpeas- Have you ever tried to catch a taxi in Adams Morgan or Dupont around last call? Easier said than done, my friend.

by Dave Murphy on Mar 30, 2011 3:46 pm • linkreport

@oboe Is that the extent of your argument? OK

by snowpeas on Mar 30, 2011 3:47 pm • linkreport

snowpeas: All transportation costs more than the users put in. Metrorail generally costs more than the fares collect. Metrobus too. Roads cost more than the gas taxes collect. And so on.

Transportation costs money, which is a big reason governments ended up providing it instead of having all roads built by private consortiums.

Even in the streetcar heyday when companies were building and operating streetcars they also owned the neighborhoods the streetcar connected to. The streetcar was a way to open up access to their land and make the profit on the land.

Late night transit does involve more of a subsidy than some other transportation, but we get some benefits like lower drunk drivers and tax revenue from establishments as well as eyes on the street for safety.

by David Alpert on Mar 30, 2011 3:50 pm • linkreport

The issue isn't about safe commuting (take a cab, the taxi drivers will gladly take your money), it's about cheap transportation which cost a whole lot more than late-night users put in). I think it is unreasonable and selfish to want to keep the system open when it drains money from the system.

Using that logic, shouldn't we simply close the system @9 or 10. At that time, the mass number of people riding the system pales in comparison to the revenue generated during peak hours. So why not? How many people ride metro after 10?

by HogWash on Mar 30, 2011 3:51 pm • linkreport

Oboe wrote:

Dr"unk driving and drunk cycling are simply not equivalent.

I heartily encourage everyone to take CaBi if you've been drinking. At least up until the point where you're utterly tanked."

This is not the first time oboe has advocated breaking the law (he/she has previously advocated smashing the windows of cars parked in bike lanes, for example).

David, why has he not been banned from commenting? You love to ban commenters who disagree with your worldview, but oboe seems to get a pass. Why is that?

by anon on Mar 30, 2011 4:00 pm • linkreport

Of course all riders are being subsidized...that seems to be a given with any rail system. IMHO, the cost to take alternative means of transportation is cheaper than keeping metro open until 3am for only a few (yes, 13k is a paltry few). And, yes it's my prerogative as a taxpayer to question whether my money is being used wisely even when the money is being used for the 'common good'.

by snowpeas on Mar 30, 2011 4:05 pm • linkreport

Actually, for once I agree with Oboe. Drunk biking should be encouraged.

However, as the law stands now you are facing DUI charges. First time offender will get diversion, but it will cost you about $1500 in lawyer's fees to get that. Would a jury convict -- absolutely.

by charlie on Mar 30, 2011 4:12 pm • linkreport

Removing late night service would just reinforce the stereotype that DC is some sleepy little back woods town instead of a city with something to offer other than government workers. People are working hard to foster a local arts scene, as well as creative restaurants and other activities, not all of which end by midnight. Cutting down on late night service would make it harder for many to go see a show at a club, or to catch a late movie, it would make it harder for many people, not just those that drink to go and participate in the activities DC has to offer. I don't own a car because DC allows me to do that. If I had to either get a car or stop having a social life, I would probably look seriously at moving to a city that did offer the lifestyle that I want. (As for getting a cab, try getting one at Fort Totten metro at the cab stand, sometimes there are many, othertimes none, and calling a cab isn't much better, considering you can wait hours for one to show up, thus I have come to not rely on them)

by Ashley on Mar 30, 2011 4:28 pm • linkreport

"Of course all riders are being subsidized...that seems to be a given with any rail system." - snowpeas

I see what you did there.

by Trolly McTrollerson on Mar 30, 2011 4:33 pm • linkreport

@charlie,

Right, but what are the odds of someone being pulled over for drunk cycling if they're not going out of their way to piss of a police officer? I could be completely wrong, but if enforcement is anything like enforcement of drunk driving laws, my guess is it's close to zero. I once heard about a drunk driving checkpoint in DC, but I've literally never met or heard of anyone who's been arrested for drunk driving in the District (unless they were involved in some other crime, such as running over someone).

I used to live in Adams Morgan; if there was anywhere that MPD had the opportunity to enforce DUI it was there. Never saw it. So you'll forgive me if the threat of being pulled over while riding my bike after having a few isn't exactly off-putting.

by oboe on Mar 30, 2011 4:39 pm • linkreport

Actually, for once I agree with Oboe...

Oh, and we seem to agree at least 49% of the time. It's really putting a crimp in my contrarian cred.

by oboe on Mar 30, 2011 4:41 pm • linkreport

Haha..yes, everyone ride your bike drunk. Better yet, ride a bike that isn't yours (Cabi) drunk! You won't have a bad accident more than once...

So what do we know: Metro has no money, people want to booze, there aren't enough cabs to go around and you'll probably die if you bike home. We need to think outside the box and find a really creative solution.

I propose that Metro keeps its current hours, but from 12-3 am, they turn car number 4 on each train into the "party car". They could set up a bar right in the middle of the car, sell PBRs for like $10 a can, blast some Lil Wayne and--what the hell--people should definitely be allowed to smoke in there, too!

Metro--makes money.
People--get drunk and get home.
Morning commuters--possibly score left over PBRs.
WIN. WIN. WIN.

TA-DA! I'm definitely taking this to the metro board. God knows those people need a good laugh to solve the problems of this joke of a public service.

by MJ on Mar 30, 2011 4:45 pm • linkreport

@Oboe; really, it is all part of my master plan.

http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/citydesk/2010/04/22/drunk-bicyclists-beware-court-upholds-dui-conviction/

WABA really need to lobby for the right to bike drunk.

by charlie on Mar 30, 2011 4:49 pm • linkreport

Alpert, those are some total nonsense equivocations you're making there. As a matter of scale, having a cop car take a spin around a park late at night is miles away from running the entire Metro system. And fire protection? Really?

by NAB on Mar 30, 2011 5:14 pm • linkreport

why can't the "late-night boozers" start drinking earlier in the evening? if they started the hard drinking at 7 instead of 10, they could be completely wasted and ready to go home before midnight, in plenty of time to catch the last train home.

by grumpy on Mar 30, 2011 5:16 pm • linkreport

@charlie:

Ah, thanks for the link. Forgot the details of that story. But really, the lesson here is, if you don't want a DUI, don't piss off the police (oh, and don't get so wasted you can barely stand up). All sorts of bad things happen to folks who drink to the point of unconsciousness.

Police reportedly found Baker N. Everton yelling on a Petworth sidewalk on January 12, 2007. He was slurring his words and could "hardly stand," according to court papers. Then he went to his bike:

"The officers asked appellant to quiet down and move on, and told him not to ride his bicycle because he was so intoxicated. Appellant, however, proceeded to ride his bicycle. Officer Mahl repeated his warning not to ride the bicycle, but appellant rode away. As he crossed Otis Place, appellant almost hit a small child who was in the crosswalk. Appellant then lost control of the bicycle and fell on the ground."

Everton was allegedly trashed enough to nearly hit a kid, which earned him a DUI citation.

Anyone want to take a stab at guessing whether this sap would've gotten a DUI if he had shut his pie-hole, and walked away?

by oboe on Mar 30, 2011 5:16 pm • linkreport

@grumpy,

In another life (and another city) my starting at 7 was no guarantee of a 10 o'clock finish.

by oboe on Mar 30, 2011 5:18 pm • linkreport

@ oboe; I agree (see, all part of the plan) but you need bright line rules.

What that chap should be charged with is being drunk in public.

How does his behavior justify a $1500 lawyers bill, more expensive insurance, the denial of the right to travel internationally, drivers license suspension, and fees to gets your license back. Alcohol eduction, though, might be useful.

by charlie on Mar 30, 2011 5:21 pm • linkreport

I think grumpy suggests and 11:30-11:45 finish. To catch the last train.

by Tina on Mar 30, 2011 5:23 pm • linkreport

Ah, what the Hell. I'll agree with you too, then. But I still say you're more likely to be mauled by wolves in Rock Creek Park than arrested for DUI on a bicycle in this town, though.

Doesn't mean applying the law to cyclists isn't ridiculous, too, though.

by oboe on Mar 30, 2011 5:26 pm • linkreport

@ Grumpy

They do this in London, and they really drink. But what you're asking for is a change to the whacked-out work-life balance that DC encourages.

by Neil Flanagan on Mar 30, 2011 5:29 pm • linkreport

OK, I did some digging. 13,400 riders per night at a $3M cost means that the subsidy for each rider is $2.15.

For the whole metro rail system you have 231 million riders (2010 projected) at a total subsidy of $256 million ($782 million cost - $526 passenger revenue) (2010 projected) for a per ride subsidy of $1.11.

So, the night riders are more subsidized than the average rider. Is that too high? I don't know. I need to know the threshold.

Does anyone want to speculate what is too high of a subsidy? What is the cut off point?

And we're talking about $1.05 to get to average. Maybe we could charge a little more. And/or cut a few stations to lower costs. Or create a late-night business BID as was suggested above (Any business still open at 11:01 has to pay a nominal fee - because you'd need to close by 11 for your employees to have any chance of catching the last train)

by David C on Mar 30, 2011 5:38 pm • linkreport

@David C

I agree with you. A holistic approach is neccesary. Have all parties share the burden and close stations/lines as needed. It doesn't have to be a zero-sum game.

by cmc on Mar 30, 2011 5:55 pm • linkreport

The first step should be to cut weekend service to the outer stations. That would be a great savings.

by beatbox on Mar 30, 2011 5:56 pm • linkreport

I don't think it's outlandish to charge an extra $1.05 per passenger after midnight on weekends.I don't think that would even hurt ridership too much

by Dave Murphy on Mar 30, 2011 6:07 pm • linkreport

@Dave Murphy; that is exactly what the end-state will be. WMATA wanted to charge extra last year, got shouted down, and came up with a new tactic: threatening shutdowns. Then it will be much easier to get that dollar surcharge.

Of course, this sort of dishonesty is why WMATA is even losing credibility with GGW writers....

Shall I point about WMATA's deficit is more about lack of ridership rather than pension/MetroAcess/overtime than last year's?

by charlie on Mar 30, 2011 6:12 pm • linkreport

Rather than closing 3 hours earlier how about opening later? The metro currently opens at 7am on the weekends. Maybe we could meet in the middle. Open at 8:30am on the weekends and close at 1:30am. Make both temporary and have a bus driving the route in the hours the metro use to be open.

by Nick on Mar 30, 2011 6:27 pm • linkreport

The advantage of drunk biking over drunk driving is two fold. First, any damage caused by drunk bikers is usually smaller than caused by drunk drivers. Second, the damage caused by drunk bikers is mostly caused to themselves as opposed to onto others. On top of that, however drunk you are, you still have in instinct not to kill and hurt yourself. Finally, there is a point after which you really can't bike anymore. Trust me, I was a very experienced very drunk biker.

Drunk biking should not be legalized. That would be reckless. However, the police can simply choose to not enforce the drunk biking laws, just like the barely enforce speeding and jaywalking. It is relevant to keep it a crime through for cases where drunk bikers cause crashes and damage. Drunk bikers are just a liable for the damage they cause as other people.

by Jasper on Mar 30, 2011 8:46 pm • linkreport

My solution? Peak-of-the-peak fares after 11pm. Everybody wins.

by Jason on Mar 30, 2011 10:30 pm • linkreport

Not to come out pro-drunk-biking which I think is a bad idea in general, but I seem to recall that most drunk driving accidents involve the driver falling asleep (or passing out) behind the wheel. It is very hard to fall asleep behind the handlebars.

by David C on Mar 30, 2011 10:32 pm • linkreport

Back in the days when Metro shut down by midnight, I had a car in DC. One of the reasons I had a car was that having to rely on public transit felt like being in high school and having a curfew.

It's not just being able to go out and drink. It's being able to go have a late dinner, see a late movie, and visit friends late into the evening. From what I remember the last train at some stations was as early as 11:30 pm.

It's not just about serving drunks. Late night service is about having an city that doesn't shut down after 6 pm. It's about having a city where people don't feel like they need a car if they want to move around the city outside of commuting hours. It's about joining the modern economy.

by Kate on Mar 30, 2011 10:35 pm • linkreport

@Nick: Compared to other cities, Metro opens late as it is. I think a 6:00 am weekend opening, 1:00 am weekend closing would be a good compromise.

by Jason on Mar 30, 2011 10:53 pm • linkreport

David C, remember that every 2am rider was a rider earlier in the evening.

Those 13,000 riders are actually making 26,000 trips. Meaning, you cut the last few hours, and your ridership falls in the evening, so that "per rider subsidy" goes up.

And of course, many of those riders aren't drunkards having fun, theyre the people working the kitchens, sweeping the floors etc.

You cut their only form of transport...and then what? They have to quit!

So now you turned a taxpayer into a welfare eater.

I also agree that if you add up lost rides, lost business, and lost jobs you WILL find more than 3 million in lost tax monies.

by JJJJJ on Mar 30, 2011 11:37 pm • linkreport

@Kate

Well said. Late night service is an essential part of being a real city.

by Alex B. on Mar 30, 2011 11:48 pm • linkreport

WMATA already charges peak pricing from 2-3 am, don't they? Why not expand it to all the hours after midnight?

by Brian Flores on Mar 31, 2011 9:04 am • linkreport

"Cutting this service will hurt tax revenues. Most importantly, it will set the region back from the place it wants to be."

And where is that, exactly? As an open-till-the-wee-hours bar and nightlife destination? Perhaps that's a priority for some, but not for all -- at least not commpared with other competing budget priorities and the need to address Metro's backlog of deferred maintenance.

by Bob on Mar 31, 2011 11:18 am • linkreport

@Brian Flores

Peak is charged after midnight, might make sense to do peak-of-peak entire time too.

by Mony on Mar 31, 2011 11:18 am • linkreport

"I don't own a car. Why should my tax dollars subsidize roads for polluting car owners?"

Umm, probably because car owners' tax dollars subsidize transit - whether or not they use it.

Now, I've got no problem with that. Neither do I have a problem with being taxed to support public schools even though I haven't had a child in school for over 20 years. I consider those things to be part of being a responsible adult.

It's always humorous to see comments from non-drivers (who pay no tolls, registration fees, fuel taxes, auto insurance premium taxes, etc.) whining about how their "tax dollars subsidize roads for...car owners".

Drivers pay 100% of the cost of their transportation - they buy/maintain/insure their vehicles in addition to paying for roads AND paying for transit.

Can any transit rider make that claim? According to WMATA, they collect about 30% of the cost of a ride at the fare box. Where do you think the rest comes from?

So, unless you're a car driver yourself (or helping somebody with their car note) you are hardly "subsidizing" anything to speak of for drivers, except for your local streets. And before you complain about that, try to remember the last time your local Whole Foods got its deliveries by Metro.

As for your complaint about "polluting car owners" , Metro doesn't run on air.

by ceefer66 on Mar 31, 2011 4:13 pm • linkreport

"Why should I subsidize late-night boozers?"

I would rather have that boozer on a train or in a cab than behind the wheel.

by ceefer66 on Mar 31, 2011 4:17 pm • linkreport

@ceefer66:

"I don't own a car. Why should my tax dollars subsidize roads for polluting car owners?"

Umm, probably because car owners' tax dollars subsidize transit - whether or not they use it. Now, I've got no problem with that.

Ceefer66 has no problem with paying 100% of their own way--and subsidizing transit. I, on the other hand, have no problem with elves making Keebler cookies. Or the time-honored--yet secret--algorithms with which Santa makes his determination of who is naughty, and who is nice.

by oboe on Mar 31, 2011 4:23 pm • linkreport

@oboe

Are you just having fun or did you really miss my point?

It's not that complicated:

I said driver pay 100% of the cost of their RIDE, not 100% of the cost of roads.

If you dispute my comment re: how much of the the cost of a Metro ride is borne by the rider, you're free to pull up WMATA's web site because that's where I got my numbers.

Hope that clears it up.

by ceefer66 on Mar 31, 2011 4:38 pm • linkreport

By that measure, Metro riders pay more than the cost of their ride. Since the train is already going, it costs a trivial amount to add the individual person.

Likewise, if the roads, signals, police protection etc. are already in place, drivers do pay the cost of their particular trip.

What doesn't pay for itself, in either transit or roads, is the fixed cost. Transit's fixed cost is higher and its variable cost lower, but neither mode pays for itself.

by David Alpert on Mar 31, 2011 4:41 pm • linkreport

@ceefer66:

Right, but this is meaningless:

I said driver pay 100% of the cost of their RIDE, not 100% of the cost of roads.

The road subsidy must be factored into the ride.

by oboe on Mar 31, 2011 4:49 pm • linkreport

@David

"What doesn't pay for itself, in either transit or roads, is the fixed cost. Transit's fixed cost is higher and its variable cost lower, but neither mode pays for itself"

My point exactly - emphasis on "neither mode pays for itself".

But it looks like some might not understand what I was trying to say.

It's true the "train is already going". But no one buys their own train.

I maintain that the driver who by definition assumes the full cost of purchasing, maintaining and operating his/her vehicle - in addition to funding the roads (and the cost of signals, upkeep, police, etc.) - is footing a significantly higher percentage of the cost of their ride than does a non-driving transit user - even considering what the transit user pays in fares in addition to the taxes they pay to subsidize the transit system.

The road user pays for transit, whether or not they use it. And they pay a significantly larger share of the cost of transit than what the non-driver pays for the costs of construction, operation, and upkeep of roads. People who don't pay the fuel taxes, tolls, and other user-paid sources of highway funding (which comprise the lion's share) aren't paying much to fund roads. At least not enough to have a legitimate complaint about
"subsidizing roads for drivers".

Sorry about the rant, but I find that selfish - and innacurate - mindset to be annoying.

by ceefer66 on Mar 31, 2011 5:16 pm • linkreport

@oboe

"The road subsidy must be factored into the ride."

As does the transit subsidy.

See my prior post.

Oh, those pesky facts!

by ceefer66 on Mar 31, 2011 5:21 pm • linkreport

ceefer66

Drivers pay 100% of the cost of their transportation - they buy/maintain/insure their vehicles in addition to paying for roads AND paying for transit.

I don't think you're being very clear here. You don't mean that drivers pay the entire cost of the road or the entire cost of transit, right? You mean they're paying for the capital and operating costs of their car, as well as paying for 50% of the road along with making a pretty trivial contribution for transit. Right?

Also, I'm not sure you're paying 100% of the cost of your car. I seem to recall the federal government getting pretty involved in the car industry lately, and giving huge subsidies to new car buyers over the couple of years (not to mention bailouts). I'm no expert but I'd bet cars are subsidized.

Can any transit rider make that claim? According to WMATA, they collect about 30% of the cost of a ride at the fare box. Where do you think the rest comes from?

Most transit users pay 100% of the cost of their shoes, which is what they use to move around the transit system. Just as you use a car to move around the road system. And before you think I'm being silly, I think a parking space is worth five times as much as the average car (or something like that). As for where the rest comes from - some of it comes from other earnings like advertising and fiber optics. Most of it comes from general tax revenue. Little if any of it comes from car/gas user fees. Those mostly pay for capital costs.

I maintain that the driver who by definition assumes the full cost of purchasing, maintaining and operating his/her vehicle - in addition to funding the roads (and the cost of signals, upkeep, police, etc.) - is footing a significantly higher percentage of the cost of their ride than does a non-driving transit user

I await more facts that prove this.

The road user pays for transit, whether or not they use it. And they pay a significantly larger share of the cost of transit than what the non-driver pays for the costs of construction, operation, and upkeep of roads.

About 50% of roads are subsidized. For WMATA it is less than 50%.

by David C on Mar 31, 2011 5:41 pm • linkreport

Most transit users pay 100% of the cost of their shoes, which is what they use to move around the transit system. Just as you use a car to move around the road system.

Wish I'd written this.

by oboe on Mar 31, 2011 8:34 pm • linkreport

Don't know if anyone is still reading this, or if it's posted elsewhere, but quote from yesterday's Examiner:

Kissal said cutting late-night service on weekends likely wouldn't be considered to close the budget. Instead, that may be revisited over the summer as a way to make more time for maintenance work.

Probably the right decision.

by WRD on Apr 1, 2011 12:38 pm • linkreport

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