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BART cuts parking fees on underused SFO extension

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  • 10/24 SF Chronicle
    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
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 24, 2003
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      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
      commuters.

      The biggest changes involve parking charges.

      "We need the flexibility to keep in line with market demand," said
      Margro.

      [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
      stations.

      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@...
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