Park & Rides Lose Money and Waste Land — But Agencies Keep Building Them

Transit agencies shell out big bucks to build and operate parking facilities. But how much do we really know about what they get for their money?

The surface parking lot at WMATA’s Branch Avenue station. Photo: TRB

Researchers Lisa Jacobson and Rachel Weinberger surveyed 37 American transit agencies about park-and-ride facilities. They found that despite the expense of park-and-rides and the fact that many spaces go unused, most of the 32 agencies that manage parking are still planning to build more of it.

Here are six big take-aways from their recent report, published by the Transportation Research Board [PDF].

1. Most transit passengers don’t park and ride

People who park at stations account for about 22 percent of total ridership across the 32 agencies that offer park-and-ride facilities. Even looking only at commuter rail and express bus service — the two modes closely associated with park-and-rides — most passengers don’t use parking. For commuter rail, 41 percent of passengers park and ride, and for express buses the figure is 30 percent.

2. Many park-and-ride lots don’t come close to filling up even at peak hours

Even during weekdays, park-and-ride lots are, on average, only 65 percent full. The authors say this “would be considered underutilized based on parking industry standards,” meaning a private company with so much empty parking stalls would consider doing something else with the land.

“On average, this sample of transit agencies has approximately 155,000 unused parking spaces on any given day,” the report states. That’s about a square mile of empty parking.

3. Most agencies don’t charge for parking

Most agencies that own or manage parking — 67 percent — don’t charge for it at all. Of the agencies that make parking free, 64 percent said they give parking away to boost ridership. Other reasons included: public resistance to charging for parking, the costs of parking enforcement or payment technology, and concerns the market won’t support parking prices.

4. All agencies lose money on parking

Some agencies recover more revenue via parking fees than others, but parking is a money loser for all of them. In the D.C. region, WMATA gets back 66 percent of what it spends on parking annually, a loss of about $23 million. Meanwhile, Triangle Transit in North Carolina recovers almost nothing and subsidizes its parking facilities 100 percent.

5. Transit agencies don’t consider parking an important part of their ridership strategy

Despite the money they spend subsidizing park-and-rides, only about 40 percent of transit agencies said parking at major stops is very important for access. Asked to rate 13 strategies to draw riders, the agencies collectively rated park-and-rides the 10th most important, behind real-time travel information.

6. Most agencies are expanding parking anyway

Even so, about 70 percent of transit agencies with park-and-rides are either expanding parking facilities or planning to. Almost half of those agencies said they are adding parking as part of new station development, rather than expanding existing parking facilities.

One reason agencies say they are building more parking is “the availability of funding.” The report doesn’t elaborate, but federal policies probably play a role. The inclusion of park-and-ride facilities in a transit expansion project can help land federal “congestion mitigation” funds, the rationale being that people who park-and-ride make roads less clogged for other drivers. Once some space opens up on roads, however, motor vehicle traffic has a way of quickly filling the vacuum.

50 thoughts on Park & Rides Lose Money and Waste Land — But Agencies Keep Building Them

  1. A better & cheaper solution would be building a network of protected bike lanes radiating 2 miles from the station, add some covered bike racks and for 1/10 the cost of a parking crater, the last mile is solved !

    build 3 -6 story housing on the parking crater and now you are really talking.

    That’s how it’s done in the civilized world

  2. Are these numbers weighted by agency ridership?

    While I’m sure this is a real issue and these numbers tell a relevant story, I’m left to wonder about the *largest* agencies … among them the MTA (MetroNorth and the LIRR) and NJTransit … I know for a fact there’s a waiting list for parking at many stations along the Hudson and Harlem lines and I doubt the New Haven line and LIRR branches have it much better. Is the story much different in Boston or the Bay Area?

    If these stats take a simple average (Phoenix light rail counts as much as MetroNorth) I could see you arriving at this conclusion. I guess I’d like to see a breakout by, say, Major Metros vs. secondary markets.

  3. How about bike and ride? Much cheaper, for the agency and the transit rider.

  4. I work for Triangle Transit (now GoTriangle). I would note that while we subsidize Park-and-Ride lots nearly 100%, our total expenses are about $18,000 per year. We get 30% of our ridership from customers who use Park-and-Rides and nearly all of our lots are shared lots or parking decks, not new build. We’d love for more customers to walk, bike, or transfer from other bus routes and continue to make improvements to help facilitate that, but given the land uses in the Triangle, right now the choice in many cases is to either have Park-and-Ride leases and maintenance agreements (at $18,000, it would not be cost effective to charge a fee since it would cost more to administer than what we would collect and it would lower ridership) or not provide the service at all.

    All of which is to say that specific context is important (and hopefully this is the last time I ever make a defense of parking).

  5. I wish more agencies would lease existing parking instead of building their own. That approach definitely allows for more flexibility in the future and it sounds like lower costs too. Kudos.

  6. This article’s conclusion is substantiated with a false cause argument relating to TDM practice. Managing demand and moving SOV motorists into transit is not the same as expanding a roadway (supply) and consequently inducing more traffic — as stated in the closing paragraph. At a regional level, multimodal success relies on a strong integration of modes — transit, bikes, pedestrians, and yes, cars. Multimodal integration allows people to make for creative and efficient travel choices that better suit them — helping cities better manage the supply. For example, 46% of Downtown Houston commuters use a form of alternative transportation method (80% SOV at the regional avg.), with an overwhelming majority busing in the expansive Park and Ride network to downtown employment. This does not create more traffic congestion or lure more drivers into our highways — what does is other regional CBDs offering limited travel choices other than the car, forcing more people to drive.

  7. The issue is pricing. There are waiting lists because the prices are too low. Parking prices should be increased. It’s sad that many transit agencies have free or extremely cheap parking while actual transit fares increase each year. The majority of transit riders who don’t park-and-ride end up subsidizing the minority who can afford to do so.

    But in the specific case of Metro-North, many of those station parking lots and garages with waiting lists are not owned by Metro-North but are instead actually municipal parking. They also frequently have separate lists/prices for municipal residents and non-residents have a harder time getting parking there (if allowed at all). So I’d assume that those cases are not included in this study. Metro-North owns their own parking at some stations where there is plenty of space. They just built a large new parking garage in North White Plains for instance.

  8. The data doesn’t support your assertion. Every vehicle removed from the road is replaced by another vehicle – unless the road is narrowed or road pricing is introduced (or there is some other price signal, like a higher price of gas). This is why we have congestion. It doesn’t matter if this vehicle is removed due to its driver now taking transit, or for some other reason. Multimodal integration is great, but building parking lots that are too large for the demand doesn’t fulfill multimodality goals by definition – unused spaces are unused spaces – it just takes away money from other priorities.

  9. I’m very sympathetic to this sentiment, and I’d love to hear some more solutions. My problem is that adjacent municipally-owned lots are controlled by suburban residents who want parking spots. Commuter vans cost a lot of money annually, most of which is the cost of the drivers, and muni gov’ts struggling under tax caps won’t put down these big sums. And referring to @mike’s comment above, MetroNorth stations (Hudson and Harlem lines) are often at the bottom of steep hills difficult to climb on a bike.

  10. Adequate travel pricing is a critical component of “managing demand,” perhaps poorly implied in my argument.

  11. Most lots in CA are built on State DOT excess land, so the costs are minimal. There is increasing demand for PnR facilities b/c sprawl-pattern or far-flung suburbs are not “transit friendly” and PnR can solve the 1st/last mile issue.
    PnR lots will host roadside EV charging stations, where possible, adding another function. They also serve as off-road bus hubs. I think PnR lots are a good solution, with a growing audience.

  12. “Most lots in CA are built on State DOT excess land” – this isn’t true in L.A. County. If it is true in other places, using that land for other things, say, mixed-use transit-oriented development, would likely be more cost effective and better for environment and equity, compared to park-and-ride.

  13. I am not from the Trimet area, so I don’t know your specifics, but I suspect that the agency’s “free parking” cost could be used to lower fares, improve service, both of which build ridership more cost effectively than offering free-to-the-user parking.

  14. The small rustbelt city I’m from, population >100,000, took federal money to build a Park-and-Ride a whopping 2 miles from downtown. Drivers were given the nonsensical option to park for free just short of downtown and take an infrequent bus the rest of the way. Needless to say, virtually no one uses it. But the money was only good for this purpose so the city took it. So now they have a mostly empty surface lot and small building to maintain with no noticeable increase in transit usage. Our tax dollars at work.

  15. And in some places, park-and-rides are rammed into what are otherwise walkable areas, thus making them less friendly to people accessing the station on foot. Never a good thing.

  16. I actually don’t find park-and-rides to be universally bad, but they are overused in the US. That’s my takeaway from this piece.

  17. Many of the stations where there are waiting lists are located in towns where the space to expand parking is constrained. In fact, park-and-rides’ presence in these towns is detrimental as they make getting to the station on foot difficult and even dangerous. As ohno notes, pricing is the key here and expansion should be avoided in developed town centers. In fact, it would be useful to repurpose some of that parking for development.

  18. The lots in LA County are full very early in the morning. LA is spread out and people need to drive and park. The lots are being used and I have no problem with the city building more parking so more people can use transit. Plus many of the transit stations in LA proper don’t have parking at all, there is not an abundance of unused parking at transit stations in LA.

  19. dude – I Have had a weekend place in Lewisboro Since 1994. mostly taking the Train I worked in Construction throughout Westchester and Farifield Ducé 1986. Plus I rode my bike to the Lake today from UES.

    Sure There are a tiny handful of Places with steep Hills close to station ( ie Hastings ) but Christ, people can still ride a whole gosh Darn mile even in Hastings.

    They do If in Salzburg. Are suburbanites so f’g lazy They can’t Pedro’s for 8 whole Minutes ?

  20. Interesting read. I use park and ride for my commute and I can tell you, the parking lots are very full by 7am and good luck finding anything after 8am. You have to circle around the spill over lots to find a space and not many commuters like that option because the areas farther away from the station (private lots or general parking in the area ) can get seedy at night.

    NY has more density and this article may not apply to every park and ride station. For those of us who have to look for said parking we don’t have much of an option because public buses are not the best for getting around to developments that are more than a 15 minute car ride or are far recessed from a main street. In addition they do not operate as well as commuter rail lines so that deters many (even myself) from using them.

    Another thing to consider are the additional trips made by commuters upon returning from work. Not every continues to their home from the parking lot. Some go to the gym, others grocery shopping, or pick up children from day car, meet up with friends for dinner, run errands, etc. etc. etc. Being that the suburbs around cites are spread out, it is difficult to do these everyday things by bus or even walk.

    Instead of pushing to shut down park and ride lots because they are deemed “a waste of money and space” consider developing where possible, the areas around commuter bus stops or rail stations. By doing that, it brings in amenities that people need that are within walking distance that will serve the commuters. This will reduce vehicle trip miles, reduce gas usage and traffic on roads. Developing the area to help the people get their groceries and be a place to conduct business and even sit in a cafe and meet friends will generate a lot more income by providing these types of things.

    This can also have a trickle down affect on any additional public transportation service (or implement) such as local buses. For those that live along main streets which typically buses service, they may be more inclined to use a bus to connect to their commuter rail (or bus) to work. Then you can start to have the conversation to reduce parking spaces that can be used for public space such as a pedestrian plaza or a mini park.

    It is far better to understand the people who are using the facility or not using the facility and think of innovative ways to meet the needs of people and build on that, in that way the people will come a will the increase in ridership and fare box revue.

  21. The people who use MetroNorth and the LIRR and NJTransit already pay enough as it is for their monthly ticket. Imposing an additional cost to them by increasing the price of parking per day coupled with fare hikes every two years will put you on the chart where it makes no economic sense to use commuter rail. The reason why they are driving in the first place is not because of cheap parking but because of lack of bus options to the closest train station or the one that has good service. We need to look beyond the dollars and look at the situation and study and understand the public transportation network and its utility and if it is providing service that is meets the needs of the people who would use it but do not because it doesn’t go where and when they need to travel.

  22. There are definitely plenty of full lots but there are some empty or underutilized ones in LA County. And there are some that are free and some that charge, at least Metro is moving towards charging for more their lots, I think the real questions is does the ROI on P&R really pan out. These spaces are very expensive to build and maintain and in LA, at least for Metro, are a small percentage of the total ridership. Is spending millions upon millions on parking when transit already has funding issues a good use of funds? Its my opinion, which we all have on the matter, that it isn’t and they land would be better used either a complementary use or create better integration into the station for bus connections, walking, bicycling or drop/pick-up. I think its more cost-effective and could lead to better integration of the station into the existing community and transportation network.

  23. Yes, well, there is a fairly major downside to that approach. It requires willing (usually) private owners, many of whom are not willing to enter into long-term leases or allow the types of improvements (like shelters) that make for a good Park-and-Ride. Building and owning your own lots is more expensive in the short run, but you know what else is expensive? Losing access to a lot and not having a good way to replace it quickly. I think the right answer is probably a mix – only building lots if you are sure the demand will be there and there are no viable long-term lease options, but exploring that low-hanging fruit whenever possible to save money and utilize already-overbuilt lots. Our best situations are in places that require a set aside for Park-and-Ride spaces as part of new commercial development, though even these are not perfect – they are sometimes located in sub-optimal locations and if the spaces are not contiguous to the bus stop or bus access is not easy, they can be difficult to serve.

  24. So lower MNR/LIRR prices to make up for the parking… or increase bus service, sure.

  25. I would also add that we should exercise caution with pricing transit more fully before pricing SOV travel/congestion. The case i provided as an example includes a price signal (parking in downtown) that influences commuters into transit. Prematurely increasing the transit expense (at park and ride lots) would steer commuters into highways where their full cost continues to be subsidized.

  26. Every dollar spent on concrete for a park-and-ride space weakens the investment, capital or otherwise, on feeder surface transit to those rail stations. Each plot of land occupied by a P&R space, occupied or not, is an area that can’t be occupied by a TOD unit. And the marginal cost of constructing additional spaces is easily 2-3x greater than the marginal cost of purchasing another bus in equivalent seats. P&Rs are the last resort in a plethora of transit improvement options mainly used for when the surrounding station area is so sprawled out, which questions whether the transit line should have been built there in the first place.

  27. To increase the price of commuter parking (from whatever amount commuters are paying at their respective lots) will not solve the parking problem. A suitable solution is developing a connected public surface transportation network that works in transporting people to and from commuter rail (or bus) stations and the surrounding communities. Provide public transportation options for people and you will see less demand for parking from those who take the bus instead of drive. It is understandable to think that it is impossible to have increased bus service, but with public input and communications between civic associations and the transportation agency, having the conversation is one step closer to resolving the problem. Put another way, you are more likely to receive the bus service that you need than to see a decrease in fares.

  28. Hi Joe. Are you saying that an agency can set the fares to include the cost of “free parking” at the lots they owned (or have on contract)? Then the parking isn’t free, it’s an included cost. As the old saying goes, “nothing is for free”. LOL This sounds more like financial modeling to substantiate fare policies. Sounds interesting. I’m all for improving service. Of course there are many variables to consider such as capacity.

  29. Very good point, Luis. Increasing the prices will do exactly that, steer them onto the roads and highways because it would make no economic sense to use public transportation if it is cheaper to drive.

  30. Hi there. One of the benefits of TOD, is to develop areas that are in need of development and spur growth in that local economy. In a place where the tracks have already been laid and for whatever reason, development nearby did not happen and instead spread out far and wide, TOD is a great solution to bring life to an otherwise desolate stop. If there is nothing there for at least 2 miles, even better because something brand new can be built. This will attract people and change their perception about public transportation when they see what a benefit it is to have in a new downtown. What is great about TOD is using what is already in place, thinking with people and mind and building for people instead of cars.

  31. Park free and pay for the ride or pay for parking and ride free. The last mile may be fifty miles. Here in Front Royal, Virginia – people may drive 30-50 miles to get to the Park & Ride for a vanpool for the next 60 miles. Parking is built based on land available and funding. The day the lot is full, it is too late to expand.

  32. Transit should be used by the people who pay for it. Bus connections? Bus travel here in LA is abysmal. We don’t need more buses that are never on time if they show up at all. Yea, let me know when transit is “integrated” into the community. The people who use transit the most are the working class and the poor. They should not have to pay for parking as well as a metro pass. They are doing the right thing for traffic congestion and pollution by taking transit, yet they are still being punished. You can already walk, bike, or get dropped off at a transit station, what’s stopping you?

  33. There are plenty of examples of transit integrated into the community, many of the purple/red line stops, a number of the Gold/Expo Line stops are, not so much the green line or the blue line. In Metro’s first/last mile report it states that 91% of riders come by bus, bike, walking or other transit vs 9% by park & ride/ drop off. I’m fortune to have been able to walk to a station and take transit with my destination also within walking distance. So I’m saying that if those millions could be better spent if they can improve the service or experience of the 91% of users, many of which are the working poor. And while providing a transit option for the other 9% of users is important, paying for the extra service of providing off-street parking seems understandable as it is a separate service than providing transit service. I appreciate the use of transit but the people using a park & ride aren’t doing it so that others can have reduced traffic and if their primary purpose reducing pollution than driving to the station does little to change that equation.

    I also think that using those millions on improving service and also focus some of those funds on feeder services or bus connections hopefully reducing the need to drive to the lot or improving the first/last mile elements to allow for better multi-modal connections to stations.

    Here is the first/last mile study which has the number I stated as well as some of the suggested strategies to improve the station area designs for all modes.

  34. The Red Line Station loses 1500 fares a day because of a lack of parking. It’s one of 2 stations that offer parking, the other 12 Red Line Stations don’t have any parking at all. So the 91% that walk and bike or take the terribly, unreliable buses to get to the station will stay the same. The people driving are not that much richer than those that walk or bike, and they pay to park in the lot and they pay again to ride the metro. 390,000 cars a year can be taken off the freeways with more parking at that one station. I don’t see bus service getting any better, it’s not that difficult. The idea of feeder buses is useless. The buses here are so poorly run, we don’t need more of them. But with traffic increasing and buses stuck at signals with cars, I’m done funding more transit projects.

  35. this is taxpayers money building a parking lot that rain water washes off & has to be dealt with to prevent flooding somewhere else–costing even more taxpayers money
    full or empty, taxpayers still are stuck with the bill

  36. This seems to be the problem. There’s nothing wrong with a park-and-ride like Ramsey Route 17 (look it up), which is on the outer edge of the NYC Commuter rail system. It makes zero sense to have a park-and-ride like the one you describe.

  37. I’m not sure which station on the red line you are referring to but the last two stops both have parking approximately 1,200 parking stalls according to Metro website But let’s say one of both of these stations combined lose 1,500 fares a day. Let’s consider the cost for building the parking stalls for all of these cars; we’ll take the low end estimate of $20,000 per stall so 1,500; so it would be approximately $30,000,000 to build them parking not including maintenance. This is an opportunity cost scenario, I realize the bus system has flaws and needs improvement so I would rather use that $30,000,000 on that. The buses carry nearly million people a day on the Metro system, so anything to improve the quality of transit there. Or if we wanted to keep if focused on rail. Instead of paying for parking it could run late night service on the trains at more frequency. There could be station improvements or bus stop improvements. All I’m saying is that building parking comes at a significant cost and that money could be better used for improvements to service rather than parking for a much smaller amount of people.

  38. You might be conflating two different things. You are talking about what we in CA call “park and ride” lots that are often adjacent to freeways, and have as their goal collecting commuters who join vanpools or carpools, they are also sometimes but not always serviced by some bus lines. These used to be primarily owned by Caltrans, but more and more Caltrans is trying to pass them off to the County Transportation Commission.

    This article refers basically just to fixed rail station adjacent parking. Probably called park and ride everywhere else, but not the same thing you are thinking about.

  39. You’re not getting the whole picture. I understand you don’t live in Los Angeles? I take the Red LIne subway quite often. The start of the Red Line is in North Hollywood. It’s more than a subway station, which is also a bus hub with connections to Valencia, San Jose, San Francisco, at least a dozen other bus lines and a shuttle to the Bob Hope Airport in Burbank. It’s also the easternmost and the station at the start of the Orange Bus Line, a BRT that goes deep into the Valley. The NoHo station has about 900 spaces. But 600 are first come first served and 300 are reserve spaces. The number of parking spaces are about the same for the first stop going south which is Universal Studios. Then you go over the hill and the rest of the 12 or so stops have no parking at all.

    And that’s fine, because Hollywood, and the rest of the Red Line route til it’s end is mostly densely packed with people and businesses. The Valley is mostly suburban. Downtown has 4 other rail and train lines to service the east and west side, the south, and the beach communities.

    The Valley has buses and the subway. I don’ t take the buses anymore. It’s not because I’m worried about weirdos or anything like that. The buses all over the city are terribly run, never on time, slow, and completely unreliable. I don’t see the point of giving $30,000,000 to a system whose problems are caused by incompetence You can’t throw money at an agency to make them be on time. You can’t throw money at an agency so they will make their software actually work. I’ve taken so many bus trips miles short of where the bus route is supposed to go. It doesn’t take that much money to get the right routes on their website.

    The Valley has buses to the subway and people don’t use them. They use the Orange Line to take them to the subway, but that’s the only BRT they have.

    My point is that we don’t need more buses for the poorly run service they provide. The only way to get over the hill is 2 freeways and the subway. There are buses that go on those freeways, but they are unreliable and slow. We don’t need more buses clogging streets, especially because the city is removing traffic lanes for bike lanes that are rarely used. Buses double and triple commute times and that is why people will drive to the Red Line and park instead of taking a bus there. The Valley is mostly suburban, it’s not like the rest of the city. It’s sprawling suburbs contain almost 2 million people,

    There are 1500 fares lost every day at the NoHo station, not the 2 combined. We don’t need more buses. They’re already cutting service in half for the rail lines they just opened. Where is all this money going? I’m not voting for any more taxes for transit, especially with declining ridership.

  40. I live in and have grown up in LA area, so I understand how this region works; I’ve ridden on all rail lines, the orange line and and bus system (mostly local lines and 1 rapid line). I used transit to go to school, work and nights out. You’re right the buses can be rough, in terms of travel times, but that’s exactly why I’d rather spend that $30,000,000 on improving the system, making exclusive lanes or improving headways and more. The Metro Bus system carries far more people than the rail system and that’s with cut service and hours. I’m a firm believer that there should be better connections between buses and rail stations, better job with timed transfers.

    My comment is for the whole of LA and not Valley specific. I also agree with your assessment of the Valley, the land use does not support transit. The article is talking about how we continue to build parking at transit stations that aren’t full and lose money and waste land. If you want to focus on the Red Line parking specifically, we’d be talking about spending a whole lot more than $30,000,000 to add parking and they would certainly still charge for parking which wouldn’t be the worst thing to keep maintains of the parking structure.

    There haven’t been any service cuts to Expo or Gold Line, in fact they just upped the service to the new portion of the foothill extension improving on headways. They did cut the overall night service for the entire rail system which I’m opposed to. As for the ridership decline, that has mostly come from bus ridership dropping which is why I really want to improve that system.

    Our agree to disagree comes from our perspectives on can service be improved. If you don’t think it can or if you are focused on service to the Valley, I get that. I believe service can be improved on both rail and bus but it does take money and lots of it, to either improve headways or to provide better technological solutions. I don’t think building more and more parking is the best use of funds especially in places that don’t fill up or are free, as that means Metro will keep spending more funds on maintaining and that could lead to even more cuts to the transit system. Which comes at the detriment to those 91% that get to the rail station by another means other than driving.

    I have enjoyed the conversation and certainly learned something about how you and likely others view the system and utilize the system, I can only hope that while we likely won’t agree you can understand my thoughts on it as someone from the other side of the City.

  41. I don’t live in the Valley either. I don’t see the point of putting more money into a system that is inherently broken. Why give that agency more buses to misuse? The issues can’t be fixed with more buses or money. The Mobility Plan 2035 wanted bus and bike lanes, ok, fine. But no mention of reducing travel times for drivers or transit riders. It’s almost like they want to take away lanes from drivers to make commutes for cars and buses the same. I would rather see a more sophisticated approach instead of more road clogging buses.

    Ridership is down because the people taking the buses can take the rail now. That alone should tell us how people feel about the bus. There is no way anyone is going to convince me that 1000 more parking spaces at a major hub, like the Red Line Station in NoHo is a bad thing. 1500 fares a day are lost because of a lack of parking. If there were 1000 more spaces, that’s 260,000 cars a year not on the freeway. And most of that would be during rush hour. My point is that the NoHo Station is a hub, there’s not going to be a place like that with that much parking anywhere else in the Valley. It’s like the Union Station of the Valley. Plus, they charge for parking now. So that would be revenue from parking in addition to the revenue from the corresponding fares. If bus ridership is down, and people are not riding buses, why in the world would we add more?

    I don’t live in the Valley, and I want transit for everyone too. And they are cutting service for the rail like I said. From 8-12 those lines designated will run every 20 minutes instead of every 10. This is for a rail system (the Expo Line JUST OPENED, really?) that already doesn’t run all night. They are pushing more taxes with no sunset and I can’t support that anymore. They can’t even get a bike lane right. Money doesn’t fix incompetence.

  42. Ridership is down is because gas prices are low and that more bus lines have been cut – some of those routes have been cut because they are redundant with new rails options but movement of riders is not equal. Also Metro has been turning over lines to other agencies like foothill transit.

    And I said, I didn’t agree with their decision to cut night time service by extending headway for nights. Metro essentially did that to save money with the exception of Red/Purple which they say is due to maintenance that has been going 4 years or so maybe a bit longer now. If we keep have to spend money on parking how can we put more funds to improving the system or shorten headway times.

    I’m sure they are missed fares due to cut bus line and scaled back service and those can be directly linked to funding. I rather see funds spent on improving service than building and maintaining more parking.

  43. But that’s my point. Money doesn’t fix morale. Money doesn’t fix late buses. Those are human errors, they need to be fixed with better attitudes, better morale and a commitment to being better all around. If they add more parking to ONE station, I really don’t see the big deal. It doesn’t mean taking anything away from other transit. But like I said before, I’m tired of these project taxes with no sunset. They have no plan, they just keep asking for more money. Fix the buses? Why? You’re never going to improve ridership with more buses. Ridership has remained flat since the 80s. Why cut service to a line they just opened? It’s ridiculous. And they don’t deserve more money for some pie in the sky idealism.

  44. A car parking space on a surface lot costs about $10,000 to build. You’re losing money the moment it’s built. You would continue losing money if it serves as bike parking as the debt continues to be paid and the space doesn’t earn money. I said if it’s going to be converted, it should be converted to mixed-use with residential, which will earn money.

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There it is, at your typical American suburban transit stop: a parking lot — a free one, probably. The intent of park-and-ride service is to enable people who live in car-centric places to take transit to work. But Ben Schiendelman at Seattle Transit Blog has been thinking it over, and he doesn’t believe park-and-rides are such […]

Before You Get Too Excited About Seattle’s Big Transit Expansion…

Read Doug Trumm’s post at the Urbanist about Sound Transit’s $50 billion, 25-year expansion plan, known as ST3, which the agency revealed yesterday. It’s ambitious in scope, but will the new lines meet the region’s most pressing transit needs? Piecing together the project list has been an exercise in regional politics, since voters will decide this November whether […]

Who Pays for “Free” Park-and-Ride Parking?

Park-and-ride lots, writes Matt Steele at, are the “darling infrastructure of the transit planning profession.” In exchange for providing a parking spot at no charge to suburban commuters, says Steele, transit systems can increase ridership. But “free” suburban parking isn’t such a sweet deal for everyone. Steele writes that a Metro Transit park-and-ride expansion […]

Free Parking Is a Terrible Investment for Transit Agencies

Does it make sense for cash-strapped transit agencies to spend millions of dollars on park-and-ride facilities and then give those parking spaces away for free? The Minnesota Valley Transit Authority, which operates in the Minneapolis suburbs, is going to spend $6.6 million to build a 330-car garage at its Apple Valley Transit Station. Matt Steele at ran the numbers, […]