San Francisco's BART Park and Ride Sucks

Glenn Swanson
by Glenn Swanson

Jessica Morgan enjoys riding the Bay Area Rapid Transit System (BART) to work in San Francisco, and she wants to take her mind and her car off the road. Problem: she can't find parking at the BART station. On weekdays, more than half of BART's 46k-plus parking spaces are filled by 8 A.M.. Some 45 minutes later, some 73 percent of the spaces are taken, according to data analyzed by the Contra Costa Times. "Lately, there are times when I've just given up and got on the freeway," says Morgan. Yet building parking lots is a costly and planning permission intensive proposition. The Dublin-Pleasanton station is finally unveiling a 1.2k car garage that cost the city $42m. (That's $28k per parking space.) Meanwhile and elsewhere, aspiring mass transit users are– gasp!– parking illegally. So BART's Board of Supervisors voted to raise fines for permit violations from $25 to $40. "We're hoping the higher fines will eliminate some parking poachers." But, for revenue sake, not all.

Glenn Swanson
Glenn Swanson

Glenn is a baby-boomer, born in 1954. Along with his wife, he makes his home in Connecticut. Employed in the public sector as an Information Tedchnology Specialist, Glenn has long been a car fan. Past rides have included heavy iron such as a 1967 GTO, to a V8 T-Bird. In between those high-horsepower cars, he's owned a pair of BMW 320i's. Now, with a daily commute of 40 miles, his concession to MPG dictates the ownership of a 2006 Honda Civic coupe which, while fun to drive, is a modest car for a pistonhead. As an avid reader, Glenn enjoys TTAC, along with many other auto-realated sites, and the occasional good book. As an avid electronic junkie, Glenn holds an Advanced Class amateur ("ham") radio license, and is into many things electronic. From a satellite radio and portable GPS unit in the cars, to a modest home theater system and radio-intercom in his home, if it's run by the movement of electrons, he's interested. :-)

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4 of 11 comments
  • Joeaverage Joeaverage on Mar 25, 2008

    Cool, so it is working so well they don't have enough parking. Wahoo! Build more parking.

  • Mikeolan Mikeolan on Mar 25, 2008

    I agree with Jonny, BART is the worst mass transit system in the world. I'd much rather drive.

  • Anonymous Anonymous on Mar 25, 2008
    One thing I hate about BART is how it shuts down so damn early (midnight). God forbid you should go in to the city and then go have some drinks with friends on a Friday night. Ya end up having to walk around until 4 am when it reopens. Why can’t it stay open to 2 when the bars close? It's actually kinda' comical to see PacBell/ATT Park empty in the 9th inning or extra innings because all of the people who took public transportation have to leave to get home.
  • Stuki Stuki on Mar 25, 2008

    I actually like BART, but I live ¼ mile from an all-trains station. If I had to cross the bay doing rush hour, I would rather paddle a kayak (and perhaps even swim) than drive the bay bridge in a car. Talk about fate worse than death. A scooter or bike, maybe, but even that would quickly drive me to move. If Bart is losing money, it’s because they want to. They have more than enough travelers with few other appealing options to be able to raise prices to profitability. Losing money is likely a badge of honor amongst the communists in charge. Despite all that, there is little doubt in my mind deregulating and breaking up the local Taxi mafia would lead to superior local transport outcomes for travel around sf. But that, like most applications of common sense is neither well understood nor particularly popular amongst communists. And what is it with the Bay Area’s aversion to valet parking? In LA, it’s everywhere. I can barely remember parking my own car when I lived down there. Why don’t some enterprising immigrants (the local are way too busy being labor ‘leaders’ to do any labor) offer that at overcrowded Park and Ride lots? Is it just cultural, or is it yet more communist regulation? Another thing, any car spot large enough to fit a monkey tractor, could easily fit 3 even large bikes. Instead of 1200 spots, you’d then have 200 car spots (for those too crippled to ride), and 3000 motorcycle spots. Much more efficient space utilization. At least for us non incapable ones. But considering we don’t vote for communists, either, I guess we’re a minority ‘round here. Still, as long as BART allows bikes on board, whining about lack of parking is kind of pointless.