Parking Services News

August 27, 2017

Illustration of Norm on Niner Transit bus under light of the moon

After a thorough RFP and selection process, Academy Bus was chosen to operate UNC Charlotte’s campus bus system. Academy is the largest privately owned and operated transportation company in country, serving the East Coast for more than 40 years. Getting around campus is now bigger, better, later and often-er than ever before.

  • Bigger – Niner Transit buses are 40 feet long and hold a lot more passengers than previous 29 ft. CATS commuter buses.
  • Better –  PaTS has directed Academy to provide continuous service; driver breaks are covered with little-to-no interruption and breakdowns are promptly replaced.
  • Later – seven day a week service until 2:30 AM!
  • Often-er – more buses on each route means shorter wait times. Two buses run on Green line, three on Gold line and four on Silver Line.

Important things to know

  • Niner Transit buses have two doors. The front door is for entering passengers; the back door is for those exiting. Loading and unloading is more efficient and safer this way.
  • Do not attempt to enter the rear door. Drivers cannot see you there.
  • Never chase a bus! If a driver passes by your stop it’s because the bus is at capacity. Wait for the next bus; it usually only takes a few more minutes.
  • Class schedule influences ridership demand; buses may fill to capacity especially around 9  a.m., 10:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
  • Buses are not like trains; they are subject to congestion, traffic, and crosswalk stops. Service may slow around 9  a.m., 10:30 a.m., 1 p.m. 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.
  • The current Niner Transit buses are temporary, assembled from Academy’s existing fleet. Brand new Xcelsior buses are being built for UNC Charlotte, with delivery expected late spring.
  • There is no service on holidays when the University is closed. See website for modified schedules during class breaks.
  • Download the UNCCNextRide app. You’ll see where the buses are and when the next bus is expected at your stop. You can also get arrival estimates by text message. More
  • Stop list and route maps

Bus Etiquette

  • During peak ridership times, please slide toward the window so someone can sit on the aisle-side seat without having to ask.
  • Place backpacks on your lap or on the floor, taking care not create tripping hazards near the aisle.
  • When capacity reaches standing room, move all the way to the back of the bus so there’s room for others to get on. Buses will accommodate two rows of standing passengers.
  • Simple courtesies and an occasional “excuse me,” and “thank you,” go a long way to making the ride more pleasant for everyone.

For Niner Transit and specific comments/questions about campus transportation, contact Helena Connors, hconner2@uncc.edu. For immediate questions/concerns, call the PaTS Communication Center, 704-687-0161. Niner Transit information and monitoring is also on Twitter @unccnextride and @unccparking.

Lost and found: Items turned in from buses are sent to the Campus Police department.

 

 

 





August 3, 2017

Having a bike share program at UNC Charlotte has been in the works for YEARS. The wait is finally over; Charlotte Wheels is live! Ten rack corrals were installed and 50 Gotcha Bikes arrived last week. Students discovered them and began riding almost immediately.

About the bikes

The first thing riders notice is the quality of the bicycles. They are sturdy without being too heavy, beautifully balanced, and have both coaster and hand brakes. Instead of a chain, the bikes are belt driven and have Shirmano three-speed internal gears for taking on campus hills with surprising ease. A basket with bungee cords secures books and packages and safety lights illuminate both front and rear.  And no one who was ever a kid can resist the thumb-ringable bell.

Charlotte Wheels Gotcha bike

How it works

Social Bicyles (SoBi) app iconAccessing Charlotte Wheels is easy. Bikes can be reserved directly from the computer on the back of the bike or through the Social Bicycles app. 

Anyone can create an account to use the program. Two pricing plans* are available: 

  • Point-to-point, which allows for 60 minutes ride time per day with no membership fee, and
  • Lifestyle, a $30/year membership that gives two hours of ride time per day.

Photo of mascot Norm at Charlotte Wheels bike corral Here's an example of point-to-point use. A student, we'll call him Norm, reserves a bike that's parked at the corral between Smith and Prospector via app or bike keypad. He enters his PIN to unlock the bike. Norm's intent is to ride up to CRI for a class that starts in an hour. As he glides down Craver Road, he decides there's time for a coffee at the Student Union Starbucks. Norm activates the "hold" feature on the bike to stop the clock for up to 30 minutes and locks up the bike. One latte and a little while later, he has ended his ride and locked the bike at the Grigg/EPIC corral. His time with the bike was 55 minutes. The cost to Norm was $0. 

Convenient, eco-friendly and fun

Bike share will be a boon to resident students, commuters, staff, and visitors alike. PaTs Transportation Manager, Helena Connors, is excited to see the program finally in motion. "Not only will Charlotte Wheels offer a new mode of transportation to get around campus, it will open up new places to explore — like the Greenway."

Jerry Mann, avid cyclist and former director of the Popp Martin Student Union, interrupted his retirement to help PaTS launch the program. "Students, faculty and staff now have the freedom to pick up a bike at a convenient location," he said, "and immediately travel around campus at a low cost, while also burning calories and utilizing non-fossil fuel transportation."

Several groups and departments helped bring the dream of bike sharing to UNC Charlotte. They include PaTS and Business Services, Facilities Management Planning and Grounds units and the Office of Sustainability. Special thanks go to students from the Charlotte Green Initiative, who provided grant funds and more importantly, the inspiration and impetus to bring Charlotte Wheels to campus.

*See website for details and restrictions

Map of Charlotte Wheels bike corral locations here

Important safety note: Helmet use is strongly advised. For those who do not own a helmet, Bikeline of Charlotte8528 University City Blvd., (in shopping center across from main entrance of campus) offers quality helmets and will provide proper fitting.

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We loved seing this on Twitter! Thanks for sharing @UNCC_MAS

Photo of two students on Charlotte Wheels Gotcha bikes

Norm may have been first to ride, but #UTOP17 has done plenty of test rides since!!!




May 29, 2017

Soon, you will need your 49er ID card to access gated parking decks and lots. Parking permissions are now linked to the 49er ID cards.

Gated decks and lots are getting new license plate recognition technology (LPR) equipment. Until installation and calibration is complete, your new 49er ID card will be the only way you can enter and exit the gated decks and lots where your permit allows you to park*. Tapping your card at a contactless reader will raise the gates for entry and exit. Look for signs at deck and lot entrances that indicate when the ID card requirement will begin. After the new system is fully operational, you should still keep your 49er ID card with you to prompt gates if LPR ever fails to read your plate.

Unclear on how license plate recognition and virtual permits will function? Watch this short video:

Additional information: Why the change?Virtual Permit FAQ

Questions? Call the PaTS Communication Center (open weekdays, 24 hours): 704-687-0161 or email pats@uncc.edu

*If you have not yet picked up your new 49er ID card, please do so right away. Visit the 49er ID Card Office, located in the Auxiliary Services Building.





May 1, 2017

Relaxed enforcement in effect Wednesday, May 3 through Friday, May 12

What the means specifically is that:

  • Permits are still required to park
  • Meters are enforced
  • Visitor deck fees must be paid

​Any semester or year-long permit is valid 24/7

  • Two-Day permits are valid 7 days per week
  • Night permits are valid at any time

Any valid permit may park in any non-reserved student space

  • Commuter permits may park in Resident and Greek spaces
  • Resident permits may park in Commuter and Greek spaces
  • Greek permits may park in Commuter and Resident spaces
  • Faculty/Staff permits may park in any student space including Lot 16
  • Lot 6A and Lot 27 permits may park in any student space

Temporary (daily) permits are valid ONLY for the days purchased.

Permits are not enforced on weekends after 10:00 PM Friday until 5:00 AM Monday and when the PaTS Call Center is closed.

Moving out? Reminder about loading and unloading

For short term parking by a building to carry something in or out, call the PaTS Communication Center at 704-687-0161. Give your vehicle information and location. You'll be given some direction and 15 minutes to park.

PaTS' Communication Center line has someone available to help you 24/5 (weekdays from 5:00 AM continuously through 10:00 PM Friday). When in doubt, ASK, please! 

Summer Parking

Summer parking permits are available for online purchase may be picked-up from the PaTS Office May 15.

  • If you bought a full-time permit in the fall or spring (Commuter, Resident, Greek Village, Faculty/Staff) your permit is good throughout summer (expiration is August 15).
  • Summer permits cost $110 per session (Summer 1 or 2) or $185 for both sessions.

Don't buy someone else's permit (or sell yours)

Unexpired full-time permits have a way of showing up on Twitter and Craigslist this time of year but UNC Charlotte parking permits may only be bought through PaTS. Permits are registered to a specific person and vehicle. Buying and then using a permit registered to someone else may subject you to fines and other penalties. 

Questions?

  • Call the PaTS Call Center, 704-687-0161
  • or email pats@uncc.edu
  • We're also on Twitter, @unccparking.

Summer bus service

Here’s some welcome news for those taking classes or working on campus this summer: PaTS will be running 15-passenger shuttles on Red and Green Lines throughout the summer, May 15 - August 1 (except holidays when the University is closed) from 7 AM until 11:30 PM weekdays, 3:30 PM - 11:30 PM weekends.

Illustration of Norm waiting for shuttle at bus stop

Expect some temporary parking disruption/displacement this summer as capital construction projects begin and new license plate recognition and gate systems are installed. Follow @unccparking on Twitter for the latest information.
 





April 27, 2017

Photos of lots 18 and 19 with a campus map indicating where they are in relation to Student UnionWhich lots are closing and why
Lots 18 and 19 are closing permanently this summer.

  • Lot 18 is closing to expand the Union Deck, ultimately making up for the spaces that will be lost in Lot 19. The Union Deck will remain open, though there may be certain areas that are temporarily unavailable during construction.
  • Lot 19 is closing to make room for the new Health and Wellness Center – anticipated to open in fall 2019. This brand-new facility will feature multipurpose recreation courts, an indoor pool, fitness studios, an elevated running/walking track, plenty of cardio and strength training equipment, and more. Visit Recreational Services for Five Things You Need to Know about this new project.

Where to park instead
The closest alternatives are East Decks 2 and 3 and West Deck, areas which should easily accommodate demand during the summer months.

However, during fall and spring semester, East Decks 2 and 3 and West Deck are typically at capacity from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday. Those decks, and the lots closest to them, will likely fill even earlier in the 2017-18 academic year. Then, North Deck and CRI Deck will both be good parking alternatives even though they are the farthest from the center of campus. When classes begin in August, these decks will be served by greatly enhanced bus service – with expected wait times of eight minutes or less.

See the University’s parking map for additional parking options. YouTube icon Here's a brief video of parking tips

The pain is real - but temporary
There’s no way around it:  These closures are going to be inconvenient for those who normally park in these lots. 

Parking demand should ease somewhat when campus gets used to the advantages of a more vigorous bus system and light rail service to campus begins. 

By summer of 2018, the Union Deck expansion is expected to be completed. This will yield 570 parking spaces, approximately 200 more than were available when Lots 18 and 19 were in use.

Questions
About the construction project: Facilities Management Customer Service Line, from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm., Monday through Friday, 704-687-0562

About parking: PaTS Communication Center, open 24 hours weekdays (5:00 am Monday – 10:00 pm Friday), 704-687-0161 or pats@uncc.edu





April 18, 2017

What?! Why?!

Illustration of Norm in a green older model convertible; rear view showing NC license plate.Shortly after the “all-campus” email went out with the subject line, “License plate recognition coming to parking permits,” call volume into the PaTS Communication Center spiked, as anyone would expect.  This is a big change that will affect everyone who drives to class or work here. Here’s some background on why the system needed to change and how License Plate Recognition (LPR) was the system that PaTS and Business Services, after more than a year of research, decided to implement.

Timing is Everything

The need for change was chosen for PaTS when the manufacturer of the current radio frequency identification-based system pulled out of the industry and was no longer going to support the equipment. Gabe Gerber, systems analyst for Business Services, explains, “The company that made the hardware and software UNC Charlotte used was bought by a large conglomerate that ultimately decided not to reinvest in the product.”

Maintaining a defunct product without vendor support, parts, etc., is neither practical nor cost-effective. This presented PaTS with an opportunity to find something better that could keep up with campus growth and offer features that students, faculty and staff had been requesting.

“License plate recognition for enforcement is becoming popular for institutional use all across the country as the technology becomes more and more reliable and more cost-effective, “ says Doug Lape, PaTS director. “Using LPR for access control is somewhat new, but still used in a number of instances throughout the world, with a handful of locations in Uptown Charlotte.  The linking of the two [enforcement with access control] is, well, on the leading edge of technology.”

Gerber believes it makes good sense to leverage LPR technology to do both. “Why pay to make, distribute and manage a parking credential [permit] when you bring one with you on your vehicle every day? Your license plate is identifying documentation. And we also have the 49er ID Card, so there’s the benefit of having your ID as secondary credential if there’s ever a problem with the LPR.”

Advantages

  1. For students, the pain of standing in line to buy or pick up your parking permit is OVER. No more having to get your permit before classes start or pay visitor parking fees on the first day of class until you got that permit in your hand. Now you’ll be able to go online, set up a UNCCMyPark account, register your vehicle information and instantly have parking permissions linked to your license plate and to your 49er ID Card.
  2. Waiting for a financial aid refund before you can purchase a permit? The new parking system’s mobile interface allows you to buy temporary daily permits through an app or web portal. No permit line; no having to pay the hourly rate in a visitor deck.
  3. For YEARS students have requested that permits be available for purchase by the semester. With LPR, you will now be able to buy your student permit for the year or for each semester or summer term. Those who know they will need to commute all year can save a little time and money by purchasing a full-time annual permit at the beginning of the academic year. At the same time, a student who is graduating in December doesn’t have to pay the full $450 for an annual permit, return it to the PaTS office after Commencement, and then wait for that prorated refund. Beginning this fall, they’ll be able to purchase a semester permit, which will get them to graduation.
  4. Changing vehicles or driving a rental car for a few days will no longer require a trip to the PaTS office. Updating your information can be done through an app, web portal or with a phone call.
  5. The new system is flexible and expandable. Look for customer-friendly features in the future, like real-time space counts so you’ll know exactly what decks and lots have availability when you arrive on campus.

But there’s this one thing…

LPR does require a clear license plate view from the drive lane adjacent to the parking space; backing into a parking space hides the plate so that will draw a citation unless:

  • Your tags are from a state that issues both front and rear plates (and both plates are properly displayed)Optional front plate for those who prefer to back in
  • You purchase an optional LPR-readable UNC Charlotte plate for the front of your vehicle. PaTS has sourced a product that works well with the LPR cameras. They are expected to sell for $30. This plate is potentially just a one-time expense; it is valid for as long as it's legible and your state-issued license plate number remains the same.

Will the change to LPR make permit prices go up?

Permit prices for full-time permits will be the same for 2017-18, which makes the fourth year in a row without an increase.

The primary factor that determines permit price is the cost of new deck construction and replacing flat lots with decks. As existing surface lots make way for new buildings and those spaces are replaced with decks (as per campus Master Plan), permit cost go up accordingly because parking is self-supporting.* A rate increase may be necessary by 2018-19 to support the University’s continued growth, but we won’t know that for sure until sometime in 2018.

Change is never easy

“We all need to be aware that the introduction of any new system will have some bumps,” says Lape. “But I’m confident that once campus gets used to it, the benefits will be evident.”

For specifc questions about virtual permits or parking at UNC Charlotte, the PaTS Communications Center is available 24-hours on weekdays (5 a.m. Monday – 10 p.m. Friday), or you can write pats@uncc.edu. We’re also on Twitter, @unccparking.

Virtual permit FAQs

* State funds are not used to pay for parking facilities; collected citation fines cannot supplement construction or maintenance of parking facilities.

LPR explaining infographic