SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO — The first daytime parking fee for Amtrak commuters in Orange County will be levied beginning Jan. 2 for parking near the historic Capistrano Depot.
The city will impose the fee for 131 parking spaces in a new, multilevel parking structure across the street from the depot. At the same time, the 99 free parking spaces that commuters have used for years at the depot will be marked with a three-hour limit.
Those who can't or won't pay the $2-per-day charge will have to park in nearby residential neighborhoods and walk to the train station.
Other regular Amtrak stops at Santa Ana, Anaheim Stadium and Fullerton do not charge for parking, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles to San Diego Rail Corridor Agency said. Union Station in Los Angeles charges $4 per day for parking.
San Juan Capistrano's charge will offset maintenance and security costs. One commuter, who leaves his car in the parking lot for six days at a stretch, complained about the fee.
"I can't pay it," said Randolph David, who lives 10 miles away from the station and commutes to his job as an Amtrak attendant on the Los Angeles-to-Chicago route. "I don't know what I'm going to do."