- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 27, 2012

Daily-deal provider LivingSocial delivered a clutch hit for the Washington Nationals and the District on Thursday by offering to pay for extended Metro train service in October, if needed, when the ballclub enters the playoffs for the first time in decades.

The company made the offer within 24 hours of a quick press announcement outside the Navy Yard station near Nationals Park that featured smiling executives from the company, Metro, the Nats and team mascots “Screech” and “Teddy.”

“Today is when (the deal) happened,” Metro General Manager Richard Sarles said.

LivingSocial will put down a $29,500 deposit for at least one hour of extended service, or two if necessary.

“We love D.C., we love the Metro, we love the Nats,” LivingSocial CEO Tim O’Shaughnassy said, noting the best way to their support was to resolve “this problem that people have been talking about.”

Debate about the best way to pay for late train service during the postseason — playoff games tend to start an hour later, around 8 p.m. — began several weeks ago when fans were stranded at the park after a rain-delayed game that went to extra innings.

The Nationals and D.C. officials engaged in talks about who would pony up the deposit to keep trains running from the Navy Yard, but neither side stepped up to the plate.

LivingSocial will pay for train service between 11:20 p.m. and 12:20 p.m., and from 12:20 a.m. to 1:20 a.m. if necessary.

“When it’s in the extra innings, and Tyler Clippard or Drew Storen is gonna go and slam it shut, now we know how everybody can go and actually get home,” Mr. O’Shaughnessy said.

Metro General Manager Richard Sarles said there could be anywhere from one to 11 postseason games at Nats Park, at least on paper, however one could be a day game and late service would not be needed on Friday and Saturday nights, when trains run until 3 a.m.

LivingSocial will be reimbursed based on A formula that takes ridership during the extended hour into account, Metro spokesman. It takes the number of riders, multiplies it by two to credit round-trips, and then multiples that product by $2.68 to pay back LivingSocial up to its $29,500 deposit, according to Mr. Stessel.

Mayor Vincent C. Gray signaled on Wednesday that the problem would be solved by the end of the week.

On Thursday, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell praised the company for ensuring passengers will have “a smooth commute to and from the ballpark, and to help ease highway traffic throughout the region during these sporting events.”

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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