DC Editorial: Buses are a better substitute for late night rail than subsidized ride-hail trips

If you’re a resident of the Washington, DC area, chances are you’ve been following the debate over late night Metro service – or have been affected by the cuts.

In 2016, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) cut late night rail service in order to increase time for track maintenance. WMATA General Manager Paul Wiedefeld floated the idea of partnering with ride-hail companies such as Uber and Lyft to make up for these service gaps. This is not a realistic solution for people who rely on late night rail service.

Despite what Metro officials have claimed in the past, late night service is not just for the nightlife crowd. It’s vital for people who work late hours, many of whom are service workers directly supporting nightlife as bartenders, servers, janitors, security guards, and in many other roles.

A cab ride from downtown DC to the edge of Metro’s service territory is many times more expensive than a train ticket and out of reach for someone making $13.25 an hour. Metro’s proposed $3.00 subsidy would barely make a dent for a rider facing a $30 Uber fare.