Metro has been generous in their attempts to get Angelenos in the habit of public transportation. It wasn’t until 2013 that the agency finally locked subway turnstiles, ending decades of the honor-system-only approach to fare collection. Now, another freebie looks to be coming to an end. Starting in May, Metro will no longer offer free parking at nine of it’s rail stations, according to Los Angeles magazine. It’s all part of a pilot program to test the feasibility of rolling out paid parking for all of Metro’s 48 (soon to be 57) parking lots. First up for fees are North Hollywood and Universal City on the Red Line, Atlantic and Sierra Madre Villa on the Gold Line, and Expo Line stations Expo/Bundy, Expo/Sepulveda, 17th St/SMC, La Cienega/Jefferson, and Culver City.
There will no doubt be drivers angry about this added cost, but the fact is they are in the minority of Metro commuters. Metro riders who drive a car to their subway stations represent only a small fraction of total users—more than half of riders arrive at stations by bus or other means. By comparison, only 13 percent of Metro riders park a car when using the Universal City station. Up the street in North Hollywood, the number of riders parking their cars at the station represents just 9 percent of weekday boardings. And yet, that small percentage is packing these Metro parking lots, often filling them to their capacity by 8 am every weekday. Despite this small percentage of riders using the service, Metro has still been paying for upkeep of their parking facilities, even though it’s not taking in any money from them. By adding a nominal fee to the nine lots in the pilot program, Metro expects to generate about $600,000 in net revenue.
Outreach for the pilot program will begin in April, as Metro officials get the word out to sure-to-be-disgruntled drivers that their spot in the lot is no longer free. Once May hits, the program will go into full effect, and the new era in paid Metro parking begins. But, when the Gold Line opens the extension to Azusa this March, parking will still be free at those stations.
· Here Are the Parking Rates Coming to 9 Metro Stations [LA Magazine