Park and Ride could cost more commuters just for the parking part

Customers already pay to park at Fannin Park and Ride lot, but that fee may be expanded to other locations
March 21, 2014 2:53:11 PM PDT
For commuters who use METRO Park and Ride lots, there could soon be another fee, to just park their cars.

With the popularity of Houston's Park and Ride, some lots have more customers than they have parking spaces. As demand is expected to continue to rise, METRO is looking ahead for solutions.

The METRO Fannin Park and Ride lot is doing a lot of business from the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. To park there costs $20 for the event. If you have a Park and Ride tag, it's $3 and for those who use it to go to work, it's money well spent.

Fannin is the only Park and Ride lot with a parking fee. It's arguably the most popular lot. The $3 fee generated more than a million dollars in income over the past year.

METRO operates other lots around the service area where commuters park their car for free and hop a bus to town. That is why the METRO board asked for a study of the lot operations and whether everyone should have to pay to park -- and ride.

METRO board member Dwight Jefferson asked, "Why are we discriminating and applying it to just one line, as opposed to making a uniform policy across the entire system?"

Fees at other lots could vary and could be less than the $3 charged at Fannin. The thought is that commuters would still get a bargain on mileage and gas for their own cars. But pushback is expected, and it's already here.

Commuter Stephen Strowder said, "If you're using the bus, you're already paying for that, too. Why do you need to pay to park as well?"

Nothing is certain yet. METRO is conducting a study that will take 60 days to complete. They are looking at other possible fee increases as well.

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