Parking at BART stations could rise with high demand

Mike Koozmin/The S.F. ExaminerRace for spaces: The Daly City BART station actually decreased its fees thanks to a dip in demand.

BART passengers who park at a station could soon have to shell out a little more cash.

Lots at BART stations frequently fill up during the early-morning commute, a situation that has the agency considering an increase in its parking rates. Daily fees at the 32 stations with parking range from free to $5, but most cost just $1.

As part of a proposal under review, prices could increase by 50 cents twice a year wherever demand is high. For now, the agency is considering capping prices at $3, except for West Oakland, where parking is $5.

BART Director Robert Raburn, who supports higher fees, said the agency needs to increase the number of passengers who walk, bike or take transit to stations.

“BART parking is incredibly subsidized,” Raburn said. “We should really look at why our spaces aren’t allocated based on market demand. If you want to park in that CEO spot, you should have to pay for it.”

At lots consistently full by 10 a.m., rates could increase by 50 cents, spokeswoman Alicia Trost said. Monthly reserved rates would increase by $10.50, or about 50 cents per workday. But if the lot is frequently empty, Trost said, prices could decrease, as recently occurred in Daly City.

Nearly all of BART’s East Bay parking lots fill up, Trost said, where rates are either $1 or free. BART now earns about $15 million to $16 million a year from parking revenue. If the 40,000 spaces eligible for increases go up by 50 cents a workday, the agency could earn an extra $5 million a year.

Yet some BART board members have concerns with the plan. Director Joel Keller, who represents the East Bay, said increasing parking fees would disproportionately affect riders with no other options but driving to stations.
“If someone spends $10 a day riding BART and parking goes up $1, that’s a 10 percent fare increase,” Keller said.

“This is something that will affect East Bay passengers, but have absolutely no impact on riders from San Francisco.”

Any increase to parking should be considered alongside a hike to BART’s $1.75 base fare, Keller said.

Vicki Stokes, a Tracy resident who parks her car at the West Dublin station and takes BART to her job at Wells Fargo in San Francisco, said she would probably reconsider her monthly permit if fees increased.

“I’m already spending $11 a day on BART and $63 a month on parking,” Stokes said. “I get the permit because I don’t like to look for parking, but I also work at home quite a bit. I just don’t think it would be worth it to me to pay for this increase.”

BART is collecting passenger feedback until Dec. 18 through an online survey on the agency’s website. The board will vote once data from that survey has been collected.

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

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