Many of the 350,000 people who ride public transit each day compete for 5,100 parking spaces at OC Transpo's 11 suburban lots before transferring to a bus.
The chair of the city's transit committee acknowledged that the jump in gas prices is making the crunch at the park-and-ride lots, which was already a problem, worse.
"We know the challenge is there," he said. "We're trying to accommodate as best we can. We have in our plan to provide more park-and-rides."
I can surely sympathize with everyone who's had problems parking. I often park at the Eagleson Park'N'Ride, but I was ticketed a few months ago so I've started driving an extra 5-10 minutes to the Terry Fox Park'N'Ride.
In large part, the system is reliant on transit hubs with transfers from personal automobile onto an OC Transpo bus. If there's no place to stash our cars without getting ticketed, though, why on earth would we run the risk of dropping $55 to take the bus? The only alternatives are waking up absurdly early to try and beat the rush, or fighting through local routes--which normally come every 20-30 minutes, sometimes require another transfer before getting to large runs, and their milk-run routes generally take 2-3 times as long as driving would.
How much bigger should these lots get, though? The real estate spent already on parking lots could certainly be used more effectively as parkland or land for development, it doesn't make too much sense to expand 5,100 spaces to 20,000 or so to more fully accomodate Park'N'Ride users. But how else can we accomodate riders from the outskirts of the suburbs?
Do any readers have stories of good or bad experiences with Park'N'Ride service? Feel free to post in the Comments section.