No more free parking at two Metro Red Line stations

Metro riders who park before they ride will have to pay first at two busy stations. A three dollar fee went into effect Monday morning at the North Hollywood and Universal City stations parking lots.

The change comes after seventeen years of free parking.

Although the change will provide Metro with a new revenue stream, transit officials say it's necessary because too many non-Metro riders are parking there for free. Metro officials justified the new fee as a way to free up parking spots for Red Line riders.

"I think it is fair because there are too many people trying to find parking. I think this will force people to start taking the bus to get here or they will have to pay the three dollars," said Sara Higgins a Metro customer.

Automated parking systems will be used at both stations. And there will be Metro employees on hand in the lots during the first few weeks to help people use the machines. Transit riders will also be able to use a smartphone app that Metro will be rolling out later this month to pay for the parking, according to officials.

"I think this will impact riders in a good way because now I will not have to be late looking for parking and I can park close to the station. Many times I park way in the back," said Sandra Marquez who rides the train daily.

Riders will need to know their license plate number to use the machines or the app because cameras will be taking pictures of each car as it enters the lot and the system will be using those license numbers to make sure people pay, according to officials. Failure to pay the $3 parking fee will result in a $53 citation for illegal parking, according to officials.

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