Metro riders will have to pay to park at the transit system's garages and lots on Saturdays starting next month, the transit system announced Friday. Plus why bus riders will pay more to park at many Metro stations.
WASHINGTON — Metro will start charging $2 for parking on Saturdays beginning on Feb. 10, the agency said Friday while also announcing a significant expansion of the non-rider parking fee to more stations.
Parking on Sundays and federal holidays will remain free when no special events are scheduled.
The changes are part of a series of efforts to generate more money from Metro’s parking lots and garages. Metro hopes these changes could raise around $4 million over the next six months.
Starting on Feb. 5, weekday parkers will have to pay to exit the garage between 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. Monday through Friday and from 7:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Fridays — two hours earlier on weekdays and one hour later on Fridays.
On Saturdays, the $2 fee will apply to drivers who leave a Metro-operated garage between 10 and 2 a.m.
Drivers who park without using the Metro system will pay higher parking rates on weekdays and on Saturdays. What are known as non-rider fees will now apply at many more stations across the system.
In order to pay the regular parking rate, riders must exit the garage within two hours of the start of their Metrorail trip, and they also must use the same SmarTrip card to pay for parking as they used to ride.
Anyone who exits using a credit card rather than SmarTrip automatically is charged the higher rate, as is any rider who parks at a Metro garage but takes a bus.
The non-rider parking fee, which had previously only applied at New Carrollton, Twinbrook and White Flint, will now apply at the following stations:
Green Line: Branch Ave, Greenbelt, Suitland
Yellow Line: Huntington
Orange Line: Dunn Loring, Minnesota Avenue, New Carrollton
Blue Line: Franconia-Springfield, Largo Town Center
Silver Line: Largo Town Center
Red Line: Rhode Island Avenue, Rockville, Twinbrook, White Flint
The new non-rider fees will range from $8.70 to $10 depending on the station.
That is separate from the $15 special event parking fee charged at Morgan Boulevard and Largo Town Center during events at FedEx Field.
Lower fee experiment
Metro will lower the daily parking price to $3 at West Falls Church and Landover stations in an effort to attract more riders to those stations.
West Falls Church in particular has seen a drop in ridership since the Silver Line opened in 2014 and many bus routes switched to Wiehle-Reston East.
At all but these two stations, weekday parking rates will not change.
While the changes are technically part of a pilot program authorized to continue through July, many pieces are expected to remain long-term.
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