Response to Niner Times article about parking permit price increase

A recent article in Niner Times contained inaccurate information regarding parking permit increases for the 2018-2019 academic year. Here is the correct information on the topic.

Is it true parking permits are going up 6 percent next academic year?

It is true there will be a modest increase to parking permits for the 2018-2019 academic year. However, a decision has not yet been made on the exact increase. Parking and Transportation Services (PaTS) is evaluating several scenarios and will share more information with campus as soon as a decision is made.

Why is an increase happening?

The cost of a parking permit has not changed in four years even though operating and administrative costs continued to rise during that time. Additionally, in 2017-2018, PaTS committed more than $24M to provide additional services for customers, including the expansion of Union Deck and Lot 8, and parking and permit management hardware and software. These funds came from reserves that must be replenished because as the University continues to grow, some existing parking will have to give way to new buildings and new parking will be needed in other areas. 

Why do students have to pay for parking on top of tuition?

No state funding or tuition dollars are used to build and maintain parking facilities. The University has to pay for building the parking decks needed to accommodate those who use them, which includes students, faculty and staff. Everyone with a regular, full-time permit pays the same. A large percentage of permit fees goes toward design and construction of new parking decks and maintenance of existing decks/lots.

The Truth About Parking page on the PaTS website provides additional information about parking funding and how proceeds are spent.

Did SGA advocate for lower parking this past year with PaTS?

SGA never formally approached PaTS to discuss a decrease in permit costs. There was discussion about adding another discount remote permit in either North Deck or CRI Deck. PaTS listened to that suggestion and will add a discount remote permit for North Deck for commuters beginning in fall 2018.

Is UNC Charlotte the most inexpensive school in the system?

UNC Charlotte is not the most inexpensive school in the system, nor does it claim to be. It is, however, committed to value and accessibility for its students.  A comprehensive list of 2018-2019 tuition and fees for the UNC System shows that eight of the 16 system institutions have higher total tuition and fees for resident students than UNC Charlotte. Additionally, of all 16 institutions, UNC Charlotte is the fastest growing university in the system.

Are parking services the same across all universities in the UNC System?

No, they are not. Each school implements programs differently.

About ten years ago, the University developed a Campus Master Plan, which included placing parking primarily on the periphery of campus and building decks. This decision allows the University to maintain more open land space, makes the campus more pedestrian friendly and reduces congestion.  However, parking decks are more expensive to build and maintain than surface lots. Other universities in the system do not offer deck parking like UNC Charlotte does.

There are other differences in parking at UNC Charlotte versus other system institutions. For example, some universities ban freshmen from bringing cars to campus; others don’t have enough parking for their students and rely on a lottery system to determine who gets a permit or who goes on a waitlist for parking.

Are there are alternatives to parking on campus?  

Yes! Light rail brings the opportunity for students and employees  to avoid parking on campus. Students are encouraged to take advantage of their CATS all-access transit passes to use the train and bus systems to travel to campus. Faculty and staff can purchase a pass through PaTS.