TransLink ponders charging for all Park and Ride spots 0
Commuters could soon be coughing up more "in the coming months" for using TransLink's Park and Ride lots, as the transit authority cracks down on their use.
Hoping to reduce overcrowding at its 21 lots, TransLink wants to persuade commuters in well-serviced areas to use connecting buses - leaving more parking spaces for those in remote regions, unconnected to the transit network.
"There's frustration around overcrowding at Park and Rides," TransLink spokesman Jason Martin said. "Pricing is generally, in any economy, one effective way to help manage demand - enough to deter people who maybe have other options that are convenient.
"We need to encourage customers in well-served areas to consider using connecting buses and other options like carpooling and kiss and ride."
TransLink's planning division is looking at charging fees at the 10 lots that are currently free, and increasing prices where fees already exist, like at all the West Coast Express stations, as well as the lots at Bridgeport, Scott Road and King George stations.
"Park and Rides offer an important value and convenience but they also come at a cost," Martin said, estimating the capital cost of each space to be about $3,000 to $15,000 with operating costs running from $200 to $800 per space annually.
TransLink has been studying the situation "for some time," Martin said, trying to understand where the demand is and where people are coming from. It is also examining whether the move might push commuters to skip transit altogether in favour of the convenience of driving.
Martin said any changes to the Park and Ride plan must go before the board of directors.
"And there would need to be discussions with the municipalities."
In another attempt to clear the lots, TransLink and its operating company, Coast Mountain Bus Co., announced last week they would start towing vehicles illegally parked at the South Surrey Park-and-Ride lot, after months of fruitless warnings.