News

BART board considers changing to dynamic pricing for station parking

Would be agency's first parking policy update since 2013

The price of parking at BART stations may go up next year as part of a shift to variable pricing based on demand, district staff said during a presentation to the Board of Directors last week.

Updating the district's parking policies will also allow passengers to take advantage of modern payment methods through the expanded use of smartphone apps.

Drivers using those apps will also benefit from increased access to information about which stations still have parking spaces open on any given day to help spread demand to stations that have greater availability.

"For all of the parking programs we're looking to improve the customer experience"," said Bob Franklin, department manager for customer access and accessibility, at the Oct. 10 Board of Directors meeting in Oakland.

"We're making it convenient for people to pay, we're also simplifying where they go to pay for a parking permit," Franklin said.

The agency's parking policies were last modified in 2013. There's a $3 cap on daily parking fees, which applies at every station other than West Oakland, but that could go up.

Franklin said BART parking is underpriced in many areas compared to commercial parking lots operating near stations or the round-trip cost that commuters incur when leaving personal vehicles at home and taking a bus.

"Taking a round-trip bus is more expensive than parking, so right now there is no incentive to take the bus," Franklin said.

Several directors expressed support for raising parking rates to reflect increased demand, although there was some dissent from others who would prefer to offer parking at the lowest price possible.

"It's unacceptable that our parking be cheaper than taking a bus," Director Rebecca Saltzman said. "We need to figure out a way to level that out."

"I disagree with market-based parking," countered Director John McPartland. "I don't work for BART, I work for the public, and I'm not in the business of gouging the public."

"My goal would be giving it to them cost-neutral, whatever it costs to maintain it," McPartland said.

Director Mark Foley opposed the idea of changing prices to change parking behaviors, but he also advocated for working with other transit agencies to improve access to BART stations by bus before any changes take place.

"There needs to be infrastructure in place before we change our pricing," Foley said. "We need to have an alternative because otherwise we're gouging our customers."

He also floated the possibility of hiring parking experts to consult with in an effort to find an "elegant solution" to the challenge presented when some parking facilities fill up to capacity while other are mostly empty.

The parking policy presentation was just an informational item, meaning that the board took no official action other than expressing their support for some ideas and reluctance to others.

Before any policy update can be considered, the district will have to conduct a Title VI study to ensure that potential changes would not exclude anyone from using BART on the basis of demographics like race, color or national origin, as the transit district receives federal funding and is subject to the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

— Bay City News Service

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Comments

Like this comment
Posted by sjd
a resident of Livermore
on Oct 15, 2019 at 3:39 pm

"My goal would be giving it to them cost-neutral, whatever it costs to maintain it," said Director McPartland.

It's definitely higher than $3, just basic math of garage cost / 260 working days per year / 40 year life.
That's saying nothing of cost of policing that area, environmental cost of driving to a station where other options exist, cost of larger access roads to maintain the area for high volume car access.

Then we can talk about alternative uses. BART is public and isn't aimed at making profit, but there is inherent value in affordable housing or commercial land that is replaced by parking. Where the tradeoff is, I can't say.


I agree with Foley there should be good alternatives, but when the current alternatives are poor precisely because the parking is artificially subsidized, that's a bit self-defeating too.

"hiring parking experts to consult with in an effort to find an "elegant solution""
The elegant solution is dynamic pricing. That's how markets work. No need to reinvent the wheel.


Like this comment
Posted by Grumpy
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Oct 15, 2019 at 8:32 pm

Grumpy is a registered user.

No. BART is not responsible for charging for roads that lead to them.

Nor is it responsible for tearing its own infrastructure down and exit the public transit business to build housing instead on its land. Though I would be quite amused if it did convert it's parking to housing--note that a car is 325 sq ft including access whereas an apartment is well over twice that--and lost over half its business, thus forcing it to shut down.


Like this comment
Posted by sjd
a resident of Livermore
on Oct 15, 2019 at 9:09 pm

"BART is not responsible for charging for roads that lead to them."

Never claimed they were. I claimed the net price of impact of car parking in contrast with other modes of travel needs to consider all these factors. Passing the buck to other jurisdictions causes both bigger tax impacts and more emissions.

"note that a car is 325 sq ft including access whereas an apartment is well over twice that"
That's fairly reductionist in a number of ways. It ignores a lot of how people really use public transit beyond commuting, ignores concepts of transfer penalties, implies I want to eliminate all parking which is not the case, and implies that nothing else about BART access would change.


4 people like this
Posted by No so greedy
a resident of Birdland
on Oct 15, 2019 at 9:53 pm

"Dynamic pricing" equal public gouging. We the public like to know how much parking will cost - consistently. Having parking prices higher at certain days or certain times is too confusing. Stick with the basic and the public will be happy.

The argument of parking cost less than a round-trip bus fare is dumb. There's gas (sky high) and there's car maintenance cost, don't forget that. Also, people don't want to have to wait for the bus, wait for BART train, and still have to walk from their house to the bus stop.


Like this comment
Posted by Grumpy
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Oct 16, 2019 at 6:45 am

Grumpy is a registered user.

Still no, sjd.

BART should not charge for the streets any more than Safeway should raise their grocery prices for the streets. That's nonsense. It's not passing the buck to leave the agencies that are responsible for paving they streets actually in charge of paving the streets, and thus collecting their own fees for them.

Normally I am in favor of charging for externalities, but here you're simply wrong in the facts. BART's impact on the streets are not out of proportion to other users. And when a new station is built, BART is usually forced to pay for the addition of the access roads if there aren't any, already. There's no reason to advocate for that change.

If you think people should be charged for the streets they drive, then advocate for toll driving instead, not for BART dynamic pricing to capture that.

As for apartments, I have few problems if BART adds parking by going vertical and reconfigures to add housing as well. But you said the value is replaced by parking, thus parking should be replaced. I think it's ridiculous for BART to make one iota of impact against its mission as commuter rail. You didn't explain how transfer penalties have anything to do with this. Moreover, non-commuter use of BART is limited and not particularly interesting to its majority use as commuter rail. And it applies mostly to the Oakland/Berkeley/SF area, where parking is already limited or nonexistent.

Simply put, the previous comment is right. It is greedy. It allows BART to bury unnecessary parking fee hikes in a system while claiming it's somehow good for us. And the way they brought up bus prices shows that they don't understand basic economics.

Like I said before, I might find it amusing actually to see them force riders to prefer the bus, which then would find riders actually can't take the bus or don't have the transfer time for it, and thus have to drive instead. That sounds like the path BART wants to find itself on.

And I'll remind everyone that demanding multiple transfers is incredibly ableist. Try doing it with a walker.




1 person likes this
Posted by Barry
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Oct 16, 2019 at 10:28 am

Barry is a registered user.

I’m tired of being subject to social engineering like this and just like the City timing of signals during commute hours to make traffic back up through Hacienda Park and stay on freeways. This variable parking fee will penalize end of the line stations like Pleasanton who shoulder the Central Valley, Danville, San Ramon, etc. why should I pay more when rich communities to the north and those over the Altamont have never contributed via taxes to the BART construction.


Like this comment
Posted by sjd
a resident of Livermore
on Oct 16, 2019 at 4:59 pm

Let's be clear about the proposal here:
The price cap will be lifted from $3 and allowed to be adjusted upwards until the point that there is open parking at all times. The changes will be made well in advance and are not proposed to change "day by day."

This may include opening permit spaces earlier on Friday or making parking free on Friday.

I am well aware that driving a car to BART involves more than parking fare

"It is not passing the buck"
I don't accept buck passing as this has been an issue for quite a while.

"And when a new station is built, BART is usually forced to pay for the addition of the access roads if there aren't any, already. There's no reason to advocate for that change."
As you know, there are ongoing maintenance costs beyond the initial construction cost.

"If you think people should be charged for the streets they drive, then advocate for toll driving instead, not for BART dynamic pricing to capture that."
I listed quite a number of things beyond the cost of the roads that were widened for BART and made the claim that $3 is underpriced. You are focusing too much on this one.

"But you said the value is replaced by parking, thus parking should be replaced."

You're not representing what I said. I said "there is inherent value in affordable housing or commercial land that is replaced by parking. Where the tradeoff is, I can't say."
That does not imply parking has no value.

"You didn't explain how transfer penalties have anything to do with this. Moreover, non-commuter use of BART is limited and not particularly interesting to its majority use as commuter rail. And it applies mostly to the Oakland/Berkeley/SF area, where parking is already limited or nonexistent."
I can assure you that non-commuter use of BART is actually an important thing to many board members, and I imagine that Pleasanton and Dublin will keep growing.

"which then would find riders actually can't take the bus or don't have the transfer time for it,"
Or it might force our local agency to improve bus service.

"And I'll remind everyone that demanding multiple transfers is incredibly ableist. Try doing it with a walker."
Grumpy, don't throw that at me. My mom is disabled and can't drive or walk far. If you can't walk across the road from the bus drop, you probably can't walk from the ADA spaces either. There will still be ADA spaces and maybe there should even be an expansion of them. There will still be paratransit. And there are disabilities that prevent driving entirely that you are missing in this conversation too.


4 people like this
Posted by Map
a resident of Del Prado
on Oct 24, 2019 at 11:29 am

Using Bob Franklins “math” you could also justify that taking a round trip to the city by private helicopter or private limo is more expensive than BART parking so there is no incentive to take a private helicopter or private limo- what an idiot!! Didn’t we taxpayers pay thru the nose for this transit system to serve all us taxpayers?? Now they are looking for a way to thin the ridership but keep that money rolling in, fix the system, get those new cars online, quit selling off our parking lots, put your police force in the stations and on the trains, stop the fare evaders and put somebody in charge of the custodial staff.


2 people like this
Posted by Flightops
a resident of Downtown
on Nov 2, 2019 at 2:11 pm

Flightops is a registered user.

A good example of what continues to happen when you let the inmates run the “prison” instead of the taxpayers that are funding that “prison”. Way past due for a complete overhaul of top management.


2 people like this
Posted by FrequentWalkerMiles
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 5, 2019 at 1:32 am

So they want to encourage people to drive more with more expensive parking, instead of creating more parking to get cars off the freeways? As if there aren’t enough reasons to not ride BART

LOL. Chevron thanks BART management for their helping hand, time and time again.


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