Carpools of two or more people can register for space at six major park-and-ride stations, starting Feb. 1, to be assured a morning slot.

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King County Metro Transit is offering reserved space for people who carpool to catch the bus at six busy park-and-ride stations — Redmond, Issaquah Highlands, South Kirkland, South Renton, Northgate and Eastgate.

The program begins Feb. 1 to serve carpools with two or more people who arrive before 8:30 a.m. weekdays. Permits are free, but users must register through Republic Parking Northwest, also reachable via Metro’s “Permit Parking” website. Most lot spaces will continue to be open to all drivers.

Metro’s carpool incentives follow Sound Transit, which sells guaranteed carpool spaces at Angle Lake, Tukwila International Boulevard light-rail stops; the Kent, Auburn, Sumner, Tukwila and Puyallup commuter-train stations; and the central Federal Way and central Issaquah express-bus centers, for a nominal $5 monthly fee.

Politicians and transit managers spent five years studying park-and-pay concepts, mainly as a tool to squeeze more customers per station into these expensive sites. Many parking centers overflow before 8 a.m., and additional garages require a tax subsidy of $30,000 to $50,000 per stall.