Why is the Transit Center being moved?
Constructed in 1995, the Hercules Transit Center is no longer adequate for the park-and-ride demand. The use of this park-and-ride facility by casual carpoolers, many of whom do not pay transit fares, is an important factor. Consequently, many commuters have resorted to parking along Sycamore Avenue and John Muir Parkway, even though many of these locations are posted with ‘No Parking’ signs. With new construction projects such as Sycamore Downtown underway, having a larger transit center has become an even more pressing need. Due to site and funding constraints, the Hercules Transit Center could not be expanded on-site so a new location had to be found. Is the new Transit Center larger?
The relocated Hercules Transit Center will be 66% larger, with a total of 422 parking spaces. This increase would have been impossible if the transit center were not moved. In addition to the capacity increase, there is a pedestrian and bicycle path to connect the facility to the Sycamore/Willow Avenue intersection, and plenty of lighting both on the paths and around the Transit Center. Will I have to pay to park?
Yes, the parking fee is $3 a day, however, a parking permit is not
required on weekends. With a printed parking permit, the $3 includes two one way trip vouchers good for travel on WestCAT local and Express routes. These vouchers are not included when you obtain a permit by phone. Transit Center users also have the option to purchase a monthly permit for $80, which includes a 31 day WestCAT bus pass or a monthly parking permit without the WestCAT pass for $63. The 31 day WestCAT pass allows unlimited travel in any direction on WestCAT Local Fixed Routes, Express, and Martinez Link 30Z buses which is activated from the first day of travel. There is also a one time fee of $4.95 when you purchase a monthly parking permit.
How do I obtain a parking pass?
to purchase a monthly or daily parking permit. Patrons can register their credit card information on the secure server. You can either print out a daily permit or request mailing of a monthly permit hang-tag. The printed daily permit includes two tear-off bus transfer instruments. The permanent transit windshield decal will be mailed with a 31 day WestCAT pass. Remember, your daily or monthly pass reserves a parking space. Unless canceled, your account will be charged, your monthly parking permit will automatically renew and another 31 day WestCAT pass will be mailed to you. Patrons now also have the option to purchase a daily permit using their cell phone.
To use your cell phone, transit center users must first register at www.parkinghelp.com
. You will be prompted to create an account and enter your address, the cell phone number you will be calling from and your credit card information for billing. This is a one time process that takes approximately two minutes. There is an annual fee of $5.95 for the Park-by-Phone account. After you register, print a temporary ID card that must be placed on the dashboard of your vehicle. Patrons are also encouraged to write the location code 12181013 on the back of the ID Card. A permanent ID card will be mailed to you for long term use.
Once you’re registered, obtaining a permit is easy. After you arrive and park, call 1-888-310-PARK from the cell phone number you’ve already registered. Then enter the location code 12181013 and you are all set! The ID card on your dash lets the system know you’ve paid. The permit cost is $3, but does NOT include the bus vouchers as does the printed permit. Any required bus tickets will need to be obtained separately. At the end of the month, your credit card will be billed only for the number of days you obtained a permit.
Can I still participate in a casual carpool?
The new Transit Center facility was specially designed to improve the safety and capacity of passenger loading. At the new Transit Center, motorists picking up or dropping off riders should use the east entrance, and stop alongside the platform marked with signs reading "No Parking - Loading Zone". Persons waiting for rides can now form queues on this platform without interfering with bus or automobile movements. The loading zone platform also has a wheelchair-accessible ramp.
There is no charge for entering the lot to pick up riders. However, motorists parking their cars in the lot will need to obtain a daily or monthly parking permit. The $63 monthly rate was designed to suit the requirements of regular carpoolers who do not require WestCAT transit in connection with their parking. Otherwise, there is no change in policy or regulation of carpoolers at the new Transit Center location. Can I buy a parking permit that includes fares for the Lynx service?
Not at this time. The Lynx service is operated by WestCAT separately and independently from BART. Separate fares and payments are required for transportation on the Lynx direct-to-San Francisco bus service. More information on Lynx service packages can be obtained at westcat.org. Is there handicap parking?
Yes, handicap parking spaces are available, however all vehicles must have a daily or monthly parking permit. What if I don’t have a credit card or internet access?
Transit Center users who do not have a credit card or access to the internet may call 1-800-997-0197 from 8:00am to 4:00pm Monday through Friday to arrange for their payment and permit to be mailed. This method requires a money order payment to be received by Clancy Systems upon which the proper permits will be sent via US Postal Service. Can I use Wage Works or Commuter Checks to pay for my parking permit?
Yes, you can use wage works or commuter checks to purchase daily or monthly parking permits. Just let your employer know the amount you want the voucher for and make payable to Hercules Transit Center. As long as the payment is received by the 15th of the month, your credit card will not be charged. Never heard of Wage Works or Commuter checks? Check out http://www.bart.gov/guide/taxbenefits.aspx
.How do I use the electronic bike lockers?
There are twelve electronic bike lockers, called eLockers, available at the Hercules Transit Center. The lockers provide on-demand bike parking on a first come, first serve basis. To use the lockers, you first need to purchase a BikeLinkTM Card at www.bikelink.org or by calling 1-888-540-0546. Once you have the card, insert the card into the machine and the screen guides you though the process. The cost, approximately 5-cents an hour, is automatically deducted from your card. When you return, just insert your card into the slot, get your bike, and any unused time will be automatically refunded back to your card. The BikeLink cards can be used at any BART eLocker location. For more information, visit www.bikelink.org
. Why do we have to pay for parking?
Even though the facility may seem like a big empty lot, the Transit Center does require maintenance and police services. The parking fees help cover those expenses. In 2005, BART passed several resolutions approving parking fees at different Park and Ride Facility locations, including Hercules. With the opening of the expanded center, these approved fees will now be enforced. The parking fee structure is also designed to encourage Transit Center users to ride BART, since a WestCAT bus ticket to BART is included in the pass. In effect, this provides a ‘discounted’ parking rate to the Transit Center users who choose to take BART. Will there be bus service to the new facility?
WestCAT is revising its system schedule to accommodate the Transit Center relocation. You can preview the new schedule now at www.westcat.org. The new schedule includes one new ‘J’ line stop near the corner of San Pablo and Sycamore. Of course, this one stop does not solve every issue, but it is a first step. While adding more routes would be ideal, public agencies are facing steep budget constraints.
In addition, WestCAT is facing budget issues not connected to the Transit Center relocation. Consequently, adding new routes or services in the near future is not possible with current or anticipated funding levels. As more redevelopment projects are completed in the area, WestCAT does plan to provide additional service to locations west of San Pablo, however these services are not expected to be needed for three to five years. Who will maintain the new Transit Center?
The new Hercules Transit Center is owned and operated by BART. On Tuesday, July 14, the City Council will be reviewing and possibly implementing an agreement with BART where the City would oversee the day-to-day operations of the facility on behalf of BART. These services include routine maintenance such as water and power, trash pick-up, landscape maintenance and graffiti removal. Hercules police will continue to respond to calls for service, although incidents requiring significant follow-through resources will be turned over to BART Police. Hercules would also provide, through a vendor, the day-to-day services required for BART’s paid parking program. The net revenue from the paid parking program would be used to reimburse Hercules for its maintenance costs.
What will happen to the old Transit Center?
The City of Hercules will take ownership of the existing transit center once the new Hercules Transit Center is open. Plans for Phase 1 of the New Town Center
are well underway.