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Metro prepared to move thousands to see the Pope

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Guest DC Government Worker

As the region prepares for the arrival of Pope Benedict XVI and the papal mass at Nationals Park on Thursday, April 17, Metro is preparing for his visit with more Metrorail service to the Navy Yard Metrorail station, just steps from the new ballpark.


Metrorail will have extra trains and personnel to help patrons get to and from the mass. In addition, the new expanded west entrance of the Navy Yard Metrorail station, just one block from the new ballpark will be converted to exit only before the mass and entry only afterwards.


“Metro has a distinguished history of providing safe, reliable and convenient service for large crowds,” said John Catoe, Metro’s General Manager. “Everyone at Metro is excited about the Pope’s visit. Our customers need to know it will be crowded inside the Navy Yard station, but we will get everyone to and from this event.”


Service for the Papal Mass


On Thursday, April 17, Metro expects to carry at least 25,000 people to and from Nationals Park for the mass, which is scheduled from 10 a.m. to noon.


The Metrorail system will open at 5 a.m. and operate its regular weekday rush-hour service until 9:30 a.m.


Metro expects its heaviest travel period will be from opening to 8 a.m., as patrons attending mass at Nationals Park are scheduled to be in the ballpark by 9:15 a.m.


To accommodate the crowds, Metrorail will deploy extra Green Line trains upon conclusion of the mass. All trains will be a combination of six-car and eight-car trains.


Metrobus routes operating near the ballpark will be affected due to expected detours. More details on road closures will be available from the Department of Transportation closer to the event.


Metro will sell a special one-day commemorative pass for $9 that will be good for the entire day.


Extra station managers, rail supervisors, and Transit Police officers will be stationed at the Navy Yard Metrorail station to assist riders and provide directions about how to get to and from Nationals Park.


With the event occurring on a weekday, riders must have a SmarTrip card to pay for parking at all but six Metrorail parking facilities. Customers can pay the daily parking fee with a major credit card or SmarTrip card at the Anacostia, Franconia-Springfield, Largo Town Center, Vienna/Fairfax-GMU, Shady Grove and New Carrollton. Customers can use their Discover, Mastercard, Visa, American Express or Japanese Credit Bank cards at these locations.


Metro is the best way to get to the ballpark because of the convenience of the Navy Yard Metrorail station, only one block from the new ballpark. The station has undergone a year-long renovation which expanded the station and will reopen the weekend of March 29. The new entrance will accommodate up to 15,000 people per hour, compared with 5,000 before the renovation. It will have more fare gates and vending machines, a new elevator between the entrance and the mezzanine and a new elevator and staircase between the mezzanine and the platform.


Metro is printing a free brochure that will provide simple walking directions to Nationals Park from the Navy Yard Metrorail station, as well as information on Metrobus service and parking. The free brochure will be available in stations soon and on Metro’s Web site at www.metroopensdoors.com

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