An attempt by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority to charge for parking on Saturdays at the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station was shot down by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors today.
The board unanimously voted to keep Saturday parking free at the 2,300-space, county-owned garage. Officials said parking charges would discourage Metro ridership on weekends, especially as the Silver Line extension project continues.
WMATA planned to charge a $2 fee for Metro users who park in the Metro garage or lot through a six-month pilot beginning Feb. 5. But because the county owns the garage, it must approved parking changes before they are instituted.
Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins said continuing free parking on Saturdays was necessary to continue to introduce people to the rail, noting that she did not object to charging for weekend parking at other stations.
“Typical economics would lead to charging for parking when usage is in high demand and supply is low, rather than the reverse,” officials wrote in a statement.
The $2 fee could have generated between $30,000 and $40,000 in revenue over the six-month pilot period, an estimate that does not include lost rail revenue driven by parking fees, according to county staff.
Although Saturday parking fee was rebuffed, the hours during which parking fees are collected will be extended. Beginning Feb. 5, charges for parking on weekdays will begin at 7:30 a.m. instead of 9:30 a.m. On Fridays, fees will continue through 2 a.m. instead of 1 a.m.