If the MTA has its way, commuters will soon have to pay more to park at garages such as the one in Mineola. (Photo by flickr user Kramchang)
Beyond the cozy confines of the New York City subway system, most commuters must drive to reach a rail station that can feed them into the city. In general, transit agencies own the parking lots surrounding their train stations and are able to exact a double fare from passengers in the form of parking rates. The MTA has such bonus babies in place along the Metro-North and LIRR routes.
As nothing is sacred in the MTA’s hunt to close an $800 million budget gap, the rates the authority charges at these parking centers could be on the rise. The Wall Street Journal’s Andrew Grossman reports:
Commuter railroad passengers will likely pay more to park at 32 train stations starting in December.
Metro-North Railroad is asking the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s board to approve a plan to raise parking fees by an average of 14.5% at the lots and garages it owns north of New York City. Long Island Rail Road is also seeking to raise parking fees by more than 20% at garages in Mineola and Ronkonkoma.
The increases would raise a combined $840,000 in revenue for the two railroads, according to the proposal. The railroads say the increases are needed to raise revenue and cover operating costs.
Currently, at Mineola, it costs $5 to park per 20-hour period and $10 a day for long-term parking. Those who do not take advantage of drop-off service will soon find themselves paying higher commuter rail fares and higher parking rates. Service, of course, has just been cut as well.
With Albany’s inaction on revenue-generating schemes, the MTA has little choice but to raise rates where it can, and parking lots are no exception. However, as the fares go up, as the price of parking goes up, some commuters will think twice about driving to the train station. Even though it’s more time-consuming and costly to drive to the city and park there, those sick of paying more will opt for the convenience of their own car instead as everything gets a little more expensive.
More convenience? Which New York are you driving to?
Ben, people talk big, but when rubber meets road they will either 1. pay the higher rate 2. get a ride to & from the train 3. walk where possible . 4. take the bus to the train or 5. stay local. Granted the latter two options are very unlikely.
I don’t think people will drive into the city to avoid paying the $5 charge or whatever they will raise it to (I think a 14.5% hike brings it to $5.70). Parking is a lot more expensive in the city, and you are paying for additional gas and tolls. SEAN is right, they’ll figure out some alternative to parking if they really want to save money.
Grossman didn’t mention that there are currently long waiting lists for pretty much all the commuter rail parking. The parking authorities could raise the fares quite a bit before they go through the whole waiting list. Result: no net increase in people driving to the city.
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