Commentary: Cheaper Parking for Train Commuters

Share |
(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, May 26, 2006

Platinum Parking, a private company, runs the parking lot at the train depot, under contract with Union Pacific Railroad. Platinum gives train riders a break - $6.50 a day to park as opposed to a daily rate of $13 for people who park in the depot lot but don't take the train.

But many train riders don't know about the discount. How could they? The sign at the lot entryway that posts prices doesn't mention it. There is a sandwich board that stands knee high set up in front of one of three doorways into the station. It's filled with legalese in small print that explains the discount and the complicated procedure commuters must go through to collect it. A similar sandwich board stands inside the station, near the ticket window. Both are easy to miss.

It gets worse. Those who take the train before eight in the morning and arrive back in Sacramento after five will find Platinum offices are closed, so there is no way to pick up the discount coupon.  It’s hard to believe this is inadvertent. Any time a train rider doesn't pick up their discount, Platinum Parking pockets an extra $6.50.

Only Union Pacific Railroad has the power to fix the mess at the parking lot. UP should turn the lot over to the city or anyone else whose is truly interested in serving the public.


Ginger Rutland writes for the Sacramento Bee Opinion pages.