Don’t ride Metro but park there? You could pay more

WASHINGTON — Metro this week puts in place higher fees for some drivers who use certain parking lots on weekdays.

Starting Feb. 5, more Metro garages will charge extra to weekday drivers who pay with a credit card or a SmarTrip card that has not just been used to pay for a rail trip. The non-rail-rider fee will now apply at the following places:

Green Line: Branch Avenue, 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

Last week, Virginia Railway Express reminded riders at Franconia-Springfield that if they do not use Metro, they will pay more. As an alternative, VRE suggests riders can use the Backlick Road, Rolling Road, Burke Centre or Lorton VRE stations.

At Franconia-Springfield, the non-rider fee will be $8.95 (for Metrorail riders the fee there remains $4.95). At other stations added to the list, the non-rider fee ranges from $8.70 to $10.

Until now, the non-rider fee only applied at White Flint, Twinbrook and New Carrollton. MARC riders faced similar issues as VRE’s Springfield riders.

The weekday parking fee hours will change Monday in an effort to force more people, including those breaking the rules by parking overnight, to pay.

Drivers exiting a garage between 7:30 a.m. and 12:30 a.m. Monday through Thursday and 7:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday will be required to pay at all Metro-operated garages.

Two stations, Landover and West Falls Church, will have their weekday parking fee lowered to $3 in hopes of drawing more people to park at those garages. Weekday parking rates at all other stations will not change.

All of the parking changes are technically only authorized for six months at first, but Metro’s budget proposal assumes some version of the expanded hours and additional fees continues permanently.

Starting Saturday, Feb. 10, drivers exiting a Metro garage (other than Wiehle-Reston East) on Saturdays will have to pay $2 when leaving between 10 a.m. and 2 a.m.

Metro parking will remain free on Sundays and federal holidays when no large special events are planned.

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