MBTA station
Some MBTA parking garages and lots will see price increases. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Drivers who park and ride from MBTA facilities during the work week will pay steeper prices at the more popular garages but could receive discounts at underused lots, under a policy adopted by the MBTA control board that will go into effect Aug. 1.

Weekday prices will rise from $7 to $10 at three garages - Alewife, Braintree and Quincy Adams - and prices will rise to $9 or below at 29 other stations, including Sullivan Square, Forest Hills and Auburndale.

The changes are designed to draw another $8.5 million from people who park their vehicles at MBTA garages and lots.

The policy change intends to extract more money from people who drive to the T without reducing the number of people who use the system, according to MBTA Revenue Director Evan Rowe.

 

The T plans to start offering discounts on parking during the weekend, when trains tend to be less crowded.

At 21 parking facilities, weekday prices will drop, including Nantasket Junction, where it will drop from $4 to $2; Beverly Depot, where it will drop from $5 to $2; and Suffolk Downs, where they will go from $5 to $2.50.

At 46 T parking facilities, prices will remain the same. At every parking facility except Sullivan Square, the cost of parking on the weekends will drop from its current level. At Sullivan, the future $6 weekend rate is the current daily rate for parking at the Orange Line station.

As part of its roughly $2 billion budget approved in April, the MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board planned to boost parking revenues by $7 million. The parking policy approved Monday was the most aggressive of three options and would raise an estimated $8.5 million.

Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack and MBTA General Manager Luis Ramirez both advised choosing a more moderate change projected to raise $6.5 million, and Control Board Chairman Joseph Aiello appeared to favor that approach but he was outnumbered by three board members - Steve Poftak, Brian Shortsleeve and Brian Lang - who expressed support for the largest parking fee increases.

"It's a lot easier to bring it down than to bring it up," said Lang.

The control board called for T officials to present a review of how the project has fared, including any "unintended consequences" within about four months of its implementation.

The T manages 44,369 parking spaces from which it receives $50.7 million in gross annual revenue and $21.1 million in net revenues.

About half of commuter rail riders and 10 percent of transit riders start their MBTA journey in a parking facility, according to the T. The T is also working on a tool that would provide real-time parking space availability information at stations that tend to fill up by around 7:30 a.m.

Under the new policy, the MBTA plans to expand its premium parking program, currently in place in three facilities. Under that program people can pay more for convenient spaces.