For the past few years, Metro has closed its rail system before midnight on Sundays through Thursdays and at 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, the result of scheduling more repair work overnight to address maintenance and safety issues. Those service hours have forced many late-night workers in the region, including those in the hospitality and healthcare industries, to take Metrorail alternatives in the early morning, from Uber and Lyft to taxis and carpools.
Now, Metro is aiming to alleviate the inconvenience from its shortened hours by subsidizing on-demand rides that late-night workers take within its service area. The transit agency has released a solicitation for companies that could provide discounted rides for these workers, between midnight and 4 a.m. seven days a week. Through a one-year pilot program, Metro would fund up to $1 million in subsidized rides, guaranteeing $3 per ride for up to 10 weekly rides for an individual late-night worker. The program could kick off as soon as this summer.
To combat loss of public transportation service at night during scheduled maintenance, Washington, D.C.’s Metro subway system could subsidize Uber and Lyft rides to make up for the inconvenience.
The Washington Post reported Wednesday on the potential plan, which is in the drafting stages currently. The subsidies would provide up to $3 off per ride, but only for Metro workers. The program would not apply to people out for recreation and is meant to help those in need of transportation for work in the healthcare or hospitality industries, for example. The trip must also take place between midnight and 4:00 a.m. and the rider must be traveling to their home or workplace. Subsidies would be capped at 10 rides per worker a week.
Metro would subsidize an Uber, Lyft or other on-demand trip for late-night workers under a plan the agency is proposing to the ride-hail services.
The subsidized trips — up to $3 per ride — are meant to make up for the loss of late-night service but would be available only to workers, not people out enjoying entertainment or events.
Metro, which has been criticized by riders and D.C. officials for wanting to extend its moratorium on late-night service another year and use the extra time to catch up on maintenance, is expected to issue a request for proposals soon that will outline its goals for the estimated $1 million program.