Park ‘n Deride

On January 1, the CTA quietly jacked up the cost to use their Park ‘n Ride lots by 100%, from $2 to $4.

A 25 cent increase wouldn’t have caught my attention. In fact, I might’ve even been forgiving of a one dollar hike. However, the doubled daily parking rate, compounded with the fare incease, feels like a fleecing.

I went from paying $10 a week/$40 a month/$480 a year to $20 a week/$80 a month/$960 a year to park in lots (red and brown) whose security seems altogether absent and whose appearance is desperate and wrecked.

I parked in the brown line lot this morning. The rules require that you put your payment in the cashbox near the entrance before heading into the station. As I drove to Kimball, I rolled up three singles stripper small, and scooped up a handful of nickels and dimes from my ashtray. I wedged the now-cocktail-stirrer-thin bills into a crack in my dashboard and moved the change into my front coat pocket. I was ready for my fleecing.

When it came time to pay, I jammed the dollar bills into the slots and then fished my pockets for the change. The coin slot was iced over. No quarter, dime, or nickel could force its way in. I had two choices: Repark my car, find an ATM, break a $20 so that I could have four singles, and then use those singles to pay for a new spot; or, keep walking and get on the train.

….And here I am, almost at Chicago Avenue. Today was a minor victory.

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