Police Chief Foti Koskinas discusses the railroad parking budget with the RTM's Transit Committee. / Photo by Thane Grauel
Police Chief Foti Koskinas discusses the railroad parking budget with the RTM’s Transit Committee. / Photo by Thane Grauel

By Thane Grauel

WESTPORT — Parking passes for Westport’s train stations will soon go up in price. Daily parking at the stations also will rise from $5 to $6.

And town-owned electric charging stations will no longer be free.

These were some of the facts mentioned by Police Chief Foti Koskinas during a discussion Wednesday night of the railroad parking budget for fiscal year 2024 by the Transit Committee of the Representative Town Meeting.

The railroad parking budget proposed for next fiscal year stands at $1.85 million — $96,301, or 5.4 percent, more than the current year.

Fees are being raised because some revenues are behind where they were pre-COVID, Koskinas said

Westport now charges $345 for a yearly parking pass, $478 for a pass two cars can share. How much those rates will rise Koskinas did not yet know.

Westport’s rates are the lowest along Metro-North Railroad’s New Haven Line.

He told the RTM members the two local stations have about 2,000 parking spots, and that 3,700 or more permits are usually issued. Overselling would still not see all spots filled regularly, but helped revenues.

“That’s part of why we’ve been able to afford keeping the rates so low,” the chief said. “If we were actually selling one-for-one parking spaces, you can do the math, it would be significantly higher.”

The daily parking $5 fee was hit hard by the COVID pandemic, he said, and is a major reason rates will rise to make up lost revenue.

Koskinas also said there would be a new fee schedule for electric vehicle charging stations at the train stations and other places the town has installed them.

RTM member Peter Gold, District 5, asked if people are being billed for the charging stations.

“Currently we do not,” Koskinas said. He said the town’s new operations director is working on changing that. “The plan is to charge for all charging stations in town,” Koskinas said.

“There are going to be different models,” he said. “We are going to make sure that we cover our expenses and increase the revenue on it.”

The meeting was a discussion only. No votes were taken.

Thane Grauel, executive editor, grew up in Westport and has been a journalist in Fairfield County and beyond more than three decades. Reach him at editor@westportjournal.com. Learn more about us here.