Free Parking Anywhere near Lafayette BART?

Please allow me to explain my situation. I very recently moved to Lafayette. I don't have public transportation options to get to the Lafayette BART station, so I have to drive. This is where it gets a little complicated. I take Casual Carpool in the mornings; it's faster and less stressful (most of the time) than taking BART into SF. But, I take BART home in the evenings and then drive to my home in Lafayette.

I found out this morning, when I parked at BART, that I had to validate parking. Unfortunately, the ticket validation machines are inside the BART station past the fare gates. I can't simply go in and validate my ticket and run back out to catch my carpool; BART wants to charge me something like $4.50 (it's called an excursion fare) to be able to just go in, validate my parking, then leave the station. I called their Customer Service and this is all the information they told me.

Are there places around the Lafayette BART that I can park for free? I would like to avoid taking BART in the mornings as it's always crowded, and, well...I would like to take BART as little as possible.


You could buy a ticket for $1.40, enter the station, validate, take the train to Orinda & take the carpool there. It's cheaper than $4.50.

However I must point out that it is people like you that drive Bart to such extremes with thier parking policies.

True, I understand that I'm not really helping the parking policies, but BART is so unreliable these days. I honestly don't want to spend the $4.40 in the morning to not get a seat, to deal with crowded cars, and to maybe get to SF on time.

I don't mind taking it home because I'm not pressed for time to get home.

Parking is for people who use Bart each way. Before Bart started the parking policy, people would use Bart like a park and ride, and just carpool to and from SF, and never use Bart. Try using Bart both ways - it isn't that bad. Otherwise, isn't there a park and ride somewhere that you could use?

I HAVE used BART both ways. Before I moved to Lafayette, I took BART from Pleasant Hill round trip. Might I ask if you have had to endure a nearly hour ride on a crowded car on BART? Yes, after a while, it gets quite wearisome. I had to deal with constant delays, among other things, and it was, quite frankly, ridiculous. I still use it to make it home; it's not like I'm using the parking lot and not taking BART at all. I'm not sure where there is a park and ride close to here.

You need to use BART on a round trip basis if you park in the BART parking lot. That is the bottom line.

I have been on Bart in a crowded car for over an hour (many times). However, it is better than driving into SF and paying for parking. I also leave from Lafayette, and usually I choose to start work early, and leave Lafayette around 6:15. The trains are less crowded and there is always free parking available. Yes, there are still delays, but it is still much better than driving (and try getting commuter checks to help defray the cost).

One way to avoid AM crowds is to take the trains that start in service from Pleasant Hill or Concord instead of from Pittsburg/Bay Point. These trains arrive at Lafayette at 6:49, 7:15, 7:30, 7:45, 7:49, 8:04, and 8:19. They are far less crowded than the ones that start all the way from P/BP, especially the ones that start at Pleasant Hill. (Assuming these times work for you, of course.)

Wow you guys... it's so nice to see people helping each other out for once!!

Thank you for all the advice; I appreciate it! I actually tried the Orinda carpool option this morning and it worked out fairly well. I drove to the Lafayette BART, found a parking spot with no problem, validated parking, and got onto BART with relative ease. I left Orinda on a carpool at around 7:40 and I timed it to be about 15 minutes faster than BART, but I believe it's because (by some act of God? Who knows!) there was no traffic at the Bay Bridge toll booths.

Since nobody answered your question I will. There is nowhere you can park for free and ride the casual carpool in Lafayette.

You used to be able to park in the Bart parking lot. However, so many people did this that Bart was forced to start validating for parking places. Once they did that, somebody got the bright idea to start charging for the validation.

So, there is nowhere to park for you and I'm totally happy about that. Phuk you casual carpools and the $5 a week you cost me.

As someone who has lived in Lafayette, I know that street parking around Bart had to be restricted many years ago because so many people were parking in the neighborhoods. Also, the local businesses strickly enforce (cars will get towed) their parking rules because Bart patrons were using the lots as all day parking. I guess what this shows is that Bart does need more parking (more parking would equal more riders). Also, communites need official park and ride lots so people who want to carpool have a place to meet.

More Parking at Bart would be a great idea, only problem with that is where? Bart has already looked into building up but the city of Lafayette and those who live around the station denied the request due to zoning and the fact that the citizens who live near there say it would ruin their view. So, sorry everyone no other options. As for those casual carpoolers don't worry you'll get caught eventually. And those who come in and pay the excursion fare you can do that but if the CSO sees you and sees your parking stall number you'll get a ticket. And don't think you can use your reciept as proof they will just use the time observed stating you were there prior to your time on the reciept. They are very strict with the rules!

Have you looked into one of the many car pooling companies that pick you up from your home? That way you dont need to worry about trying to find parking. It may cost you a little more, but at least you wont have to worry about parking. Maybe you could bike to the BART station and just lock your bike up there.

I believe the question was originally addressing whether there was a park and ride lot available to the members of the Lafayette community whereby one could carpool to work. I find it sad that this resource is not offered given the fact that California is suppossed to be supporting any clean air efforts which carpooling certainly does accomplish that effort. I spend $225 every month for transportation to and from work (BART & MUNI) which is very often unreliable.

It is time that the city of Lafayette take some responsibility to provide a source for carpools.

I found this map of parking options from the city of Lafayette:,+Pleasant&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=42&gl=us

Also, what about joining EBMUD and parking at the reservoir to carpool? People with season passes get plenty of parking options although I don't know if they have an issue with that.

The map lists free or almost-free places to park aside from trying to use BART spaces . . . and the number of spaces in each spot.

Mt. Diablo Blvd. is one suggestion. The west end probably isn't crowded in the mornings.

If you want to meet on the other side of the tunnel, what about near the fire monument, is there some parking there? It may be well-patrolled, too.

Yipes! Here's your friendly link....

Parking Map

You could park in the fee lot and pay for the parking in the evening when you drop off the car. The fee is good for 24 hours, so you'd be paid for in the morning. I have seen people that work overnight do that.

If you get to lafayette early enough you may be able to get away with not paying at all since the people that write the tickets are usually in the permit lots early. And there is no fee after 3pm.

boopiejones's picture

what are you going to do if you take a sick day from work or something? you'd get a ticket if you left your car there two days in a row without revalidating your parking.

You could see if monthly permits are availble, if not, you can buy daily permits for the week ahead of time and put them in your window.

Buy them early though, I used to goto the airport and if I waited to long the daily permits would be sold out. Not sure how far ahead you can buy them. People that can't get monthly permits buy up the daily ones.