Calgary city council asked to avoid jacking up park-and-ride rates

Calgary city council is being asked to reject a fee hike for out-of-town visitors who are using LRT Park-and-Ride lots.

Customers pay $85 per month to reserve a spot until 10 a.m. Monday to Friday. After 10 a.m. all parking is open and there are no reservations on Weekends.

On Wednesday, the city’s transportation and transit committee was told 11.2 per cent of those who reserve the spots are from outside city limits.

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Looking at hypothetical situations, administration concluded the city could make a nominal $37,000 to $100,000 more in revenue if it charges more for out-of-town visitors.

However, that could prompt people to park in nearby residential neighbourhoods and not pay the current fee.

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“When you factor in the riders that we’ll lose and the people that will probably find a way to work around it, it gets to be fairly modest,” transportation general manager Mac Logan said.  “If council’s decision is to go ahead and do it, and we can do it, we’re recommending against it for the gains that we’re going to get.”

There could also be a political fallout as the city is working with neighbouring municipalities in creating a regional growth management board.  Administration suggests charging an extra fee could hinder those relationships.

Councillor Shane Keating agreed with the recommendation and said the city stands to benefit in other ways.

“We also have the vast majority of shopping and arts and culture and recreation facilities and they are also used by people who don’t live in the city,” Keating said.  “Are we going to go down that path of taxing everybody, on every possibility, or is it just transit?”

READ MORE: Transit fares and recreation costs on the rise in Calgary

Calgary Transit reports that the economic downtown has hurt business, as reservations for parking have dropped 34 per cent in the last two years.

The committee accepted administration’s advice to keep things the way they are and possibly revisit the issue when demand for reserved parking is higher.

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City council will hear the committee’s recommendation to reject the fee hike at a future meeting.