Monthly Archives: February 2010

Communism in America: BART parking

I have to go to San Francisco from Pleasanton every so often and quite frequently there is no parking available on the station plus no alternative private parking within walking distance too.     If you happen to get the parking space it is however it is almost free (1$ a day, peanuts compared to $11.10 for return fare).

The alternative is to get the reserved monthly parking  which costs about $65 a month (so about $3 per working day)…  but it is too unavailable. There is a wait list and   I was happy to find out I  am #450 in a wait list.    This is probably more than reserved parking spaces available on the station which means I can’t never get my turn.

This reminds me a lot the “communism” era in Soviet Union then  most things were extremely cheap…. you however could not get them in convenient form.  You would either wait long in line or come at special times when products may become available or  resort to the black market which had most everything available at the prices few could afford.

Having limited availability with low prices actually hurts in many way.  First  this is obviously below the cost and there is no insensitive for developing more parking spaces.  Second low prices makes commercial parking development venture rather risky  – people generally have hard time paying higher prices for something which might be available for a lot less somewhere.

What I would much rather see is having monthly rates and  day rates to raised to match market demand.   The monthly parking in SF downtown is over $200 in many areas. Add to this gas and bridge toll as well as having fun time in the traffic and $150 monthly parking at BART would be totally reasonable.   Same applies to the day parking  – $5 a day would be totally reasonable – which still just half of the fare.

What is about people who will be no more able to afford parking ?       This is surely unpleasant but ask yourself how parking around BART is different from parking at SF Downtown which can run $30 a day in financial district, or BART fare ?   We’re choosing work (or place to live) considering the time and cost to get to work and there should be no one to blame if commute is costly.   Some executives may commute on private plane every day – they are in position to afford it.

Paying is however only one way of solving the problem.    If you can’t afford to pay you can take a bike from many places in Pleasanton and Dublin which is also good for you  and envinronment  you can also use number of further parking spots and walk, finally you can also trade time for money by using one of the transit center parking lots and taking a bus.