BART Coliseum to charge more for parking on event days

BART formally approved a policy today for collecting parking fees at its lots at the Coliseum station in Oakland during large events, although the agency has already been charging fees at the stations on game days for decades.

The agency has been charging for Oakland Raiders games, some Oakland A's games since the 1970s, and more recently at Golden State Warriors games, BART customer access and accessibility manager Bob Franklin said.

The parking fees usually only kicked in for events expected to draw more than 30,000 people, which includes all Raiders games and some A's games, Franklin said.

But with the Warriors' recent success, more and more basketball fans have been seeking cheaper parking in BART lots, particularly since the Warriors charge steep parking fees, so BART started charging during Warriors games as well.

Even then, BART fees are typically lower than what the stadium charges. For Warriors games, Coliseum parking is $40 but only $10 in the BART lot. The A's charge $20 for parking during baseball games and BART charges $8, while the Raiders charge $35 during football games and BART charges $20.

The steady expansion of the project led BART staff to seek formal approval of the fees from the agency's board of directors. There were no objections at a public hearing held last month and the directors unanimously approved fees ranging between $7 and $30 today.

Until now, the only listed station fees on BART's website were the $1.50 daily parking fee charged between 4 a.m. and 3 p.m. on weekdays. BART staff made no mention of the existing game day fees at either of the last two board meetings when the new policy was discussed.

Franklin said today he would add information about the game day parking fees to BART's website.

On game days, a contractor would collect cash fees for event-goers who said they had no intention of using BART. The vendors gave people the benefit of the doubt if they said they were there to use BART and they weren't charged, Franklin said.

The fees are necessary to control the steep costs of sports fans parking in the BART lots. Not only did they displace BART riders trying to park there, but tailgating Raiders fans cost the agency $3,000 each Sunday home game in trash cleanup and police patrols, Franklin said.

BART directors also approved increased fines for parking violations at its 33 stations with parking lots, but contingent on the agency coming up with a better enforcement mechanism.

"The system that we have to enforce it is not so great," BART director Rebecca Saltzman said today, saying she has fielded numerous complaints of BART patrons getting tickets after paying the proper parking fee.

The board is expected to approve new enforcement procedures over the next few months, BART officials said.

Since 2008, parking violations at BART stations have carried a $35 fine for not paying a daily parking fee and a $40 fine for ignoring posted signs or parking in red zones.

Those fees have proven ineffective in deterring parking violations. Some East Bay patrons will simply pay the fines because they're cheaper than driving to San Francisco and paying for parking there, according to BART officials.

BART issued 61,410 parking citations in 2014 and 98,695 in 2015.

The new fines will be $55 for not paying the daily parking fee and to $75 for ignoring signs or red zones. Fines would go up to $100 after five violations in a year and $150 after 10. Forged permits would net a $150 fine, according to BART.

BART officials hope the escalating fines will be an effective deterrent from patrons routinely illegally parking at stations.
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