ASHBURN, Va. (7News) — Travelers at Dulles are taking advantage of a 24-hour parking lot that became a two-Metro stop ride away from the airport in November when the Silver Line’s second phase opened.
At a recent meeting, a member of the Washington Metropolitan Airports Authority mentioned that quite a few people were parking at an eight-story garage located just northeast of the Ashburn station, and then riding the Metro to Dulles for flights.
That garage is owned by ParkX Management, which offers 24-hour parking, something that normally is not offered at garages near Metro stations.
“We are seeing some big boosts in traffic and occupancy in our garages [since Silver Line Phase 2 opened],” said Brent Belmont, director of business development and customer relations with ParkX.
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Belmont says the company has 5,000 parking spaces near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station for $5 a day, and 4,000 in the Ashburn garage for $5.95 a day. Meanwhile parking at Dulles runs between $14 and $29 a day depending on the lot.
Belmont says the length of time cars stay parked at the company’s garage near the Ashburn station has doubled since the Silver Line’s second phase opened last year, and travel to Dulles is a big part of the reason.
“People going into DC typically come back the same day, or maybe the next day -- they’ll stay for one night in DC,” he said. “But for Dulles, we see they’ll stay for multiple nights.”
One warning – there is also a garage called “Ashburn South” on the southwest side of the Ashburn station that is owned by Loudoun County and does not offer 24-hour parking. A county spokesperson says car owners who park overnight receive a warning and then receive a $50 ticket if they do it again. At this time the county is not considering offering 24-hour parking at that garage or at another county-owned garage at the nearby Loudoun Gateway Metro station.
Other places besides the ParkX garages offer discount 24-hour parking for Dulles too, but most are not right near a Metro station. Although when travelers park off-site it costs Dulles parking revenue, a spokesperson told 7News the airport's authority is okay with the situation because it wants people to have many different options to get to the airport, and at the end of the day the people saving money on parking are still using the airport.
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Currently, Metro-owned garages do not offer 24-hour parking, and Metro’s parking system isn’t even set up to be able to offer it. But that is something that general manager Randy Clarke is interested in changing.
“Any way that we can get people on the system, and get them out of their car, and using our great regional assets like our airports, I think is a win-win,” Clarke told 7 News this week.
Clarke says Metro wants to offer license plate recognition software that will allow for 24-hour parking at the New Carrollton station.
“And after we get into that, then we can start thinking about how at some of our other garages we can get into overnight parking as well, so people if they’re going out of town for a week can park there and take the Metro to National or Dulles or Union Station,” Clarke said.