Southborough MBTA commuters to see 50% hike in parking

by beth on June 25, 2018

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For those of you commuters who are already frustrated by MBTA issues – you may feel that the latest news adds insult to injury. It’s about to get more expensive to commute by rail from Southborough.

According to media reports, the cost for parking at the Southborough station will jump from $4 per day to $6 per weekday starting August 1st.

At the same time, weekend use of the train parking lot will be cheaper. The weekend rate will go from $4 to $2. (Of course, weekend commuting will have other issues this summer, including schedule changes and detours at some points. Click here for past coverage of that.)

Thinking about the impact on daily commuters, I wondered if monthly pass holders would be hit by a $500 increase per year. Checking the MBTA’s posted presentation, that’s unclear. But it is clear that anyone who is using the MBTA’s invoice option to pay to park will see an even bigger increase. So, if you use the train semi-regularly, but not enough to warrant a monthly permit, you’ll want to make sure to sign up for the phone app.

Back in 2015, the MBTA announced changes to how parking could be pay for – eliminating the ability to self pay in person to park for the day. Rail riders had to choose between paying by phone ($4/day), being invoiced ($4.50 per day), or monthly permits for $70 per month (which averages about $3.18 per weekday).

Last week, the MBTA presented its new plans. The posted page on monthly parking proposes:

  • At facilities with monthly parking, adjusting prices to a consistent multiple of daily pricing. . .
  • Change in invoicing price (from $0.50 to $1.00 per day) to reflect cost of providing service and to encourage PayByPhone usage

Southborough is among 32% of MBTA seeing weekday price increases, including Westborough, while 21% other lots deemed underused will see $2 per day decreases. The MBTA’s proposal also included two alternative options that would make a smaller rate increase of $1 per day.

Our state representative is publicly criticizing the change. The Community Advocate reported:

The move, MBTA officials said, is also an attempt to reduce congestion at lots that are filled early in the mornings, such as Westborough, which is many times completely filled by 7:30 a.m., and have commuters instead use lots that are not as well utilized. . .

State representatives Carolyn Dykema, (D-Holliston) and Hannah Kane (R-Shrewsbury) both were critical of the move by the MBTA.

“MetroWest commuters need and deserve a reliable public transit system, especially in light of increasing congestion on the Mass. Turnpike,” said Dykema, who represents Southborough, one precinct in Westborough, Hopkinton and Holliston. “Given how far we are from this goal, it’s hard to justify the proposed fee increases, which will make our system less, rather than more, attractive to riders.”

“I believe that commuters on the Worcester/Framingham line should experience reliable, consistently on-time service before seeing an increase in fees,” said Kane, who represents one Westborough precinct, as well as Shrewsbury. “Additionally, we have been working with the town of Westborough and the MBTA on how to expand parking at the Westborough commuter rail station given that the lot is at capacity. I would hope that any new parking lot revenue is devoted to adding capacity.” . . .

According to the MBTA, fifty percent of commuter rail riders start their trip with parking. Although the age and employment status may be similar to non-parkers, parkers tend to be wealthier.

The MBTA is also looking into possible “premium” parking spots at some locations. They are also considering an increased rate at some lots for “event parking” (such as sporting events and concerts) which would start after regular commuting times.

You can read that full article here.

(photo by Susan Fitzgerald)

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 arborist June 25, 2018 at 1:52 PM

someone has to pay for all that tree cutting and installation of the new telephone poles and wire for the PTC system that is currently being installed along the route. I think in the long run it will be a better commute . There has been a lot of work going on this spring and summer on the right of way to make it safer and more reliable .

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2 Dick Snyder June 26, 2018 at 5:53 AM

Beth, can you point us to the link that shows the underutilized lots?

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3 beth June 26, 2018 at 7:13 AM

There was a link to the presentation with in the post. Here that is: https://www.mbta.com/events/2018-06-18/fiscal-management-control-board-meeting.

On that page is a link to the parking proposal presentation – but it is a PPX file. That’s why didn’t include a direct link to it. You need to either have PowerPoint or something compatible in order to read it. And I don’t have the compatible software to turn it into a PDF file to share.

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4 Dick Snyder June 26, 2018 at 10:02 PM

Thanks Beth. I have Powerpoint and I was able to read that Ashland and Framingham are the two stations closest to Southborough that don’t have 99% utilization.

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