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A west bound BART train stops at the Walnut Creek BART station to pick up weekend passengers in Walnut Creek, Calif. on Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013. (Susan Tripp Pollard/Staff)

BART passengers will pay more to ride the popular rail line next year -- and those who drive to the station will be particularly hard hit.

The agency's board of directors Thursday approved a 5.2 percent fare increase, which will raise the average one-way fare from $3.59 to $3.78 starting Jan. 1. That will cost the average daily BART commuter about $50 over the course of a year.

Most of the agency's 370,000 daily one-way riders take round trips. The most expensive round-trip fare, between San Francisco International Airport and Pittsburg-Bay Point, will rise from $22.10 to $23.30. The cheapest fare, for a variety of short trips, will inch up from $3.50 to $3.70 for a round trip.

The fare hike is tied to the rate of inflation. BART, which last increased ticket prices two years ago, says it needs the money to help replace its aging rail cars and other infrastructure.

Similar inflation-adjusted fare increases are set for 2016, 2018 and 2020, continuing BART's policy of raising ticket prices slightly every other year. In all, the fare increases are projected to generate an additional $325 million over eight years.

In addition, the board voted to increase parking fees as soon as June 1. The cost to park at stations that are at least 95 percent full will rise 50 cents every six months, with a cap of $3 a day, except at West Oakland, where it already costs $5. If stations are not full, the cost will drop by 50 cents every six months.


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The seven lots where it's now free to park will cost $1 a day. The Richmond and South Hayward lots will start charging a buck a day on April 1, as previously planned, while the fees at Glen Park in San Francisco will start on June 1.

The $1 daily parking charge at the other free lots -- Hayward, Concord, North Concord and Coliseum-Oakland Airport -- won't take effect until sometime next year.

Contact Mike Rosenberg at 408-920-5705. Follow him at Twitter.com/rosenbergmerc.