Published Friday, October 24, 2003, in the San Francisco Chronicle
BART to lower its fees for parking on Peninsula
By Michael Cabanatuan
Chronicle Staff Writer
In an attempt to persuade more passengers to ride BART's underused
extension down the Peninsula, the transit agency's board Thursday
eliminated weekend parking charges and announced plans to lower fees
for weekday parking.
Since the extension south from Colma to San Francisco International
Airport and Millbrae opened in late June, ridership has languished,
staying far below BART projections. While BART expected about 45,000
daily trips on the extension, passengers are taking only 25,000.
Only the airport station has lived up to expectations, said BART
General Manager Tom Margro. The Millbrae station, where riders can
transfer between BART and Caltrain, has been the biggest
disappointment. Much of the transit agency's five-story parking
garage has remained empty and few riders have been transferring from
Caltrain to BART.
BART officials agreed to a package of changes after meeting with
officials from the San Mateo County Transportation Authority, which
pays the operating costs for the extension. The changes are aimed at
making BART more appealing to both air travelers and Peninsula
The biggest changes involve parking charges.
"We need the flexibility to keep in line with market demand," said
[BATN notes that if BART were truly interested in "keeping in line
with market demand," it would cancel a substantial number of the
empty trains being run south of Daly City. However, since SamTrans
is entirely on the hook for operating costs, BART prefers instead
to cut SamTrans' parking revenue instead of its own operations payroll.]
BART will eliminate the weekend parking charge of $2 a day on Nov.
15, the same day it will end the 24-hour parking time limit on
weekends at the Colma, South San Francisco, San Bruno and Millbrae
In addition, BART plans to cut the $2 weekday fee to $1 starting Dec.
1 at the Millbrae, San Bruno and South San Francisco stations.
Monthly parking charges also will be reduced with reserved permits
falling to $30 a month from $63 and unreserved permits dropping to
$20 a month from $43.
Bicycle riders will also get a break. BART will allow passengers to
take bikes aboard southbound trains between Civic Center and Millbrae
during commute hours. And BART and San Mateo will begin a new
marketing effort that will promote the extension. Board members, who
have a policy that calls for market-based parking charges at all
newly built stations, unanimously supported the reduced weekday
parking fees. The reductions are temporary, however, and could be
raised if and when the lots begin to fill.
E-mail Michael Cabanatuan at mcabanatuan@...