DART is Expanding Paid Parking to the DFW Station, So Good Luck Finding a Free Spot

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I know what you're thinking: Come December, when DART opens its station at DFW Airport, you'll just slide your luxury vehicle into one of the 597 brand-new parking spaces at the Orange Line terminus while you hop on Lufthansa for your European ski holiday. After all, there's plenty of space. DART says so right here:

"Parking definitely does not come at a premium at the upcoming Belt Line Station." And who wants to be gouged by the airport parking monopoly, much less actually ride the train to DFW? Have you ever been on those things?

Alas, DART also knows what you're thinking. This week, a board committee considered a plan to include the Belt Line Station, which is technically on airport property, in its so-called parking demonstration.

The demonstration, if you'll recall, is a two-year trial launched in April that charges motorists who live outside DART's service area $2 to $5 to park at the light rail system's northernmost termini, the Frankford/North Carrolton and Parker Road station's. The Downtown Plano stationNorthwest Plano Park & Ride, which opens July 30, was added later. DART service area residents, more of whose sales taxes fund the transit service, can register their cars and park free.

There are no details yet about what DART will charge at the airport station. That will come when the matter goes before the full board for official consideration. But the overnight thing fees are a given, since they are written into the agreement with DFW.

All of which got me thinking. How's the paid parking thing working out? DART spokesman Morgan Lyons noted that the program's scarcely two months old, and doesn't have any readily available figures on revenues. But he reported mostly positive feedback. The main side effect seems to be folks from the far-flung suburbs simply hopping up the line to the Bush Turnpke and Trinity Mills station to avoid the parking fee. That, said Lyons, was expected.

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