Changes to parking fees at Metro-operated lots and garages alpha Monday — allotment of a six-month acceding with avant-garde appraisement methods. But there are already apropos that the pilot affairs could alienate burghal alteration users who are anguish at the anticipation of added fees.
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The changes to Metro’s appraisement action will aggrandize the hours parking fees are charged, annihilate some weekend parking that had been chargeless and aggrandize a affairs that accuse “non-riders” added to esplanade at Metro lots and garages. It’s allotment of an accomplishment by the bureau to choke added acquirement out of its operations and to advice it accumulate added abstracts about how bodies use its facilities.
The new appraisement anatomy has been acclaimed by some alteration advocates and planners, but critics — including riders and some burghal adopted admiral — say the changes may ultimately attenuate alteration acceptance in places area bodies are calmly absorbed aback to their cars.
They additionally abhorrence that the new fees could aching Metro’s weekend ridership — back parking commonly has been chargeless — and abash bodies from application added forms of transit, such as Virginia Railway Express, the MARC driver abuse and the Fairfax Connector bus system.
“The acceptable account actuality is that this is a pilot, so we’ll be able to assay what the appulse is and again accomplish a accommodation about how to go forward,” said Fairfax County Supervisor Pat Herrity (R), abounding of whose accommodation use the Franconia-Springfield Metro station.
It’s one of the stations that will activate to allegation non-Metro-riders who use its parking about double, alike if they are application the base to booty VRE.
Herrity said he wants to accomplish abiding that the fee changes aren’t counterproductive to the ultimate ambition — accepting added bodies to use transit.
“We absolutely allegation to be designing our accumulation alteration so bodies appetite to ride it, and not aloof accept to ride it,” Herrity said.
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The hours during which Metro will allegation for parking weekdays will alpha two hours earlier, alpha at 7:30 a.m. — and extend until 12:30 a.m., except for Fridays, back fees will be answerable until 2 a.m.
And for the aboriginal time, the bureau will allegation for parking on Saturdays; a collapsed $2 fee will be calm from 10 to 2 a.m. Sunday parking will abide free.
Lastly, the bureau is accretion its affairs of non-rider parking fees, which accuse decidedly college ante for bodies who use Metro’s parking accessories but don’t pay with a SmarTrip agenda that is additionally swiped into the abuse system.
Those circadian fees ambit from $8.70 to $10. Previously, the appropriate ante were alone answerable at New Carrollton, Twinbrook and White Flint. Now, the college ante additionally will be answerable at the Branch Avenue, Greenbelt, Suitland, Huntington, Dunn Loring, Minnesota Ave., Franconia-Springfield, Largo Town Center, Rhode Island Avenue and Rockville stations.
The one ablaze spot: Metro is blurred parking fees at the Landover and West Falls Church stations — from $4.70 and $4.95, respectively, to $3 circadian — as allotment of an accomplishment to attract added bodies to use them and conceivably about-face from added parking garages that frequently ability accommodation on weekday mornings.
The pilot affairs is estimated to accompany in $4 million of acquirement for Metro and is appointed to aftermost until July 30, although the Metro lath could vote to accomplish the changes abiding afore then.
The assets for the bureau could be significant. For example, admiral appraisal that had they answerable a $5 parking fee the Saturday of the January 2017 Women’s March, the bureau could accept fabricated $500,000 based on the day’s almanac ridership.
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Still, the all-encompassing changes accept affronted some bounded jurisdictions, who say that Metro bootless to bend them in on the activity and that the agency’s alacrity for added acquirement may abash bodies from application the system.
In Fairfax, the Lath of Supervisors accustomed the changes to the weekday agenda — activity so far as to preemptively accede to accomplish the changes permanent, if Metro chooses to do so — but against charging for Saturday parking.
“Parking acceptance and Metrorail ridership are everyman on weekends back it is currently chargeless to park. . . . Typical economics would advance to charging for parking back acceptance is in aerial appeal and accumulation is low, rather than the reverse,” the Fairfax lath wrote in a announcement aftermost month. “The aftereffect may beggarly some bashful access in parking acquirement at the amount of weekend ridership.”
Supervisors additionally afraid that Saturday parking fees would abash low-income alteration riders “who can atomic allow addition access in alteration costs.”
Supervisor Catherine M. Hudgins (D-Hunter Mill) took her colleagues’ apropos to the Metro board, on which she additionally serves. She asked that Fairfax stations be exempted from the weekend fee pilot but was unsuccessful. Still, the Lath of Supervisors ultimately voted to exclude the Wiehle-Reston base parking lot, which is endemic by Fairfax County, from instituting the weekend fee.
The action additionally will appulse MARC and VRE riders. Three of the stations introducing “non-rider” fees — Greenbelt, Franconia-Springfield and Rockville — are additionally driver alternation stations.
Officials from the Maryland Alteration Authority did not acknowledge to a appeal for comment. But in an email to a addition who had asked whether MARC commuters would pay “rider” fees, the bureau said it had not been able to altercate the change with Metro.
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“MARC has had no success extensive out to WMATA apropos the parking amount increase,” David Johnson, MARC’s arch busline officer, said in an email to a rider. “WMATA is not affiliated with MTA and we do not accept an acceding with them apropos parking.”
Metro backer Sherri Ly said there are no affairs to board MTA, VRE or added bounded alteration systems beneath the “rider” parking fee, which requires advantageous with a SmartTrip agenda that has been acclimated to tap out of the aforementioned base area the barn or lot is located.
A agnate appraisement action has been acclimated at the New Carrollton base for years, and alone 15 percent of bodies who esplanade at the base are advantageous the non-rider price, she said.
“The non-rider fee affects a about baby allotment of customers,” Ly said.
Still, the changes are bad account for Sasha McMurry, 36, who lives two afar from Rockville Metro station. She commutes to Silver Spring, and MARC is her adjustment of choice.
She usually parks at Metro stations, but now that the circadian amount of parking will access by at atomic $3.50 per day — about $900 per year, she affected — she’s activity to alpha benumbed her bike to the station.
“It feels actual anti-transit of WMATA to not accept some array of affiliation in abode with MTA,” McMurry said.
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She said she finds it “puzzling” that the changes don’t accommodate a accouterment for bodies who use non-Metro forms of transit, abnormally because MARC and Metro already accept a affiliation to account one another’s tickets if there are account disruptions.
“It feels like WMATA is aggravating to banknote in on the bodies who ride MARC,” McMurry said.
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