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October 12, 2017

Why Philly sports fans never worry about issues like the D.C. Metro/Nationals controversy

Give SEPTA props when it's due, people

Transportation SEPTA
Carroll - Lincoln Financial Field Aerial View Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

A stitched panoramic image from of Lincoln Financial Field in South Philadelphia taken on Dec. 14, 2014, during a game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys.

It's popular for Philadelphians to complain about SEPTA. But hey, at least we never have to worry about the debacle that played out leading up to the Washington Nationals' playoff game against the Chicago Cubs on Thursday night.

It was reported that despite the team's decisive home game starting at 8 p.m., the Washington, D.C. Metro would still close at its normal time of 11:30 p.m., despite the game likely ending well past the last train out.

In the wake of the negative backlash, the city announced Thursday that energy company Exelon would pay the extra $100,000 needed to keep the Metro running past midnight. (Ironically, Exelon is based in Chicago, home of the Cubs. It is also the parent company of PECO.)

The controversy proved embarrassing for D.C. as well as the Nationals organization, which some criticized for not ponying up the money to keep the trains running for its fans.

There's a reason fans in Philly don't encounter the same issue. Whether it's an extra-inning Phillies game or a Monday night Eagles game, the trains keep running until the event has cleared out, and SEPTA foots the bill, according to agency spokeswoman Heather Redfern.

"We don't charge teams for our service if we stay open later than we normally would," Redfern said.

SEPTA monitors the number of riders coming to a game before it happens, which gives them an idea of how many people will need to use the Broad Street Line once the game ends.

Moreover, Redfern said they keep an eye on when the crowd begins thinning out from the parking lot after an event is over to get an idea of when they should run the last train. That's true for any game, concert or event held at the South Philadelphia Sports Complex.

She said although the turnstiles at AT&T Station will eventually close after an event, no one gets stranded, as SEPTA runs its Nite Owl Service buses from the stadiums for those leaving after the last train.

None of this applies to events that take place on the weekends, Redfern noted, as the Broad Street Line already runs through the night on Fridays and Saturdays.

The Phillies haven't been in the playoffs in a while (hopefully that'll change soon). Next time they are, however, the only way Philly will probably look bad is on the field.