TransLink board okays plan to charge at park-and-rides

Pricing undetermined but will reflect service level: chair

A new policy to charge motorists at all park-and-rides under TransLink’s control has been approved by the board.

The Oct. 24 decision confirms Metro’s earlier announcement that the days of free parking are over for transit commuters who use the no-charge lots.

Board chair Nancy Olewiler said rates have not been determined, but the policy endorses the principle that all drivers pay a minimum $2 a day to park and exact prices will be set on a case-by-case basis.

“It’s just efficient and effective and fiscally responsible to have some sort of pricing for it,” she said. “The pricing will reflect the level of service and what we can do.”

Olewiler suggested some free lots, such as Phibbs Exchange in North Vancouver, may get upgrades like better lighting and space delineation when pay parking fees go into effect.

A major expansion has also just been approved for the overcrowded South Surrey park-and-ride, which is another that will cease to be free.

The new 650-space Carvolth park-and-ride in northwest Langley will also go to pay parking, although users should have free use for the first few months after the new Highway 1 Rapid Bus service over the Port Mann Bridge is launched in December.

Other currently free park-and-rides include Ladner; Tsawwassen; Walnut Grove in Langley; Sexsmith in Richmond; Westmount and Gleneagles on the North Shore.

Park Royal Mall will continue to offer free parking for transit users as it’s not under TransLink’s control.

TransLink projects it will raise $2.2 million by charging at the free lots and raising the prices at some of the existing pay lots.

Charging to park should ensure users of busy park-and-rides have a better chance of finding a stall, Olewiler said, because the fees will encourage some drivers to leave their car at home and catch a nearby feeder bus instead.