University to raise parking prices, change lot privileges
Starting Aug. 1, students at Texas A&M University-San Antonio will pay $30 more for annual parking permits and will not be allowed to park in Lot 2. Faculty and staff, who will no longer park in Lot 3, will pay $40 more for academic year permits and $60 more for fiscal year permits. The university also will open a new department to oversee parking and transportation on campus.
Right now, University Police handles parking permits. With recent growth in enrollment, more parking permits have been issued to students, faculty and staff members.
Although the police have been successful with managing the parking, they will no longer continue to handle parking permits, said Christian Harmon, project management intern in the office of business affairs.
The new parking and transportation department will take over Aug. 1.
The university is in the process of hiring a parking and transportation manager along with an administrative associate. The department is also hiring four student workers to help with daily tasks around the office.
Not only has the increase in enrollment contributed to this change, “we were losing money on Lot 3, which initially spawned the increase in prices,” Harmon said.
Last year the price of a parking permit was $60 per year for students, faculty and staff. Starting this fall, there will be two payment options for students, faculty and staff.
Students will choose between a yearly pass for $90 or a single semester pass for $45. The yearly pass or the spring pass covers summer parking, Harmon wrote in an email July 10.
Faculty and staff can buy a fiscal year permit for $120, a fall-spring permit for $100 or a single semester pass for $50. In addition, faculty and staff can choose a monthly payroll deduction of $10.
Students, faculty or staff who buy a parking permit in the summer will pay $20 for the remainder of the summer, Harmon wrote.
In the past, students were allowed to park in Lot 2. Students will no longer be able to park in Lot 2 and only allowed to park in Lot 3 with a parking permit.
Biology senior Emily Robb said in an interview July 3 she didn’t understand why new permits were being implemented.
“I heard about it and was questioning it, and that’s why I don’t want to buy a pass, because the price was going up and we’re moving further,” Robb said of parking in Lot 3.
If a student or employee has already bought a 2018-2019 permit, the department will honor them.
The permits will be the same size as they’ve been in the past along with the university’s colors. The new passes will have a colored strip on the left with the driver’s status of faculty, staff or student.
This will help parking enforcement to correctly identify the pass in its specific parking lot.
“The profits will go into the parking and transportation account, that the staff get paid from,” said Harmon. “The funds will also be used to maintain all the parking lots on campus.”
Biology senior Caroline Herrera said, “If they are raising the price, I kinda wished they built a garage instead of an open lot. A garage would just be ideal cause you stack them.” Herrera only has one semester left until graduation and is still going to purchase the single semester parking permit.
Lot 3 has 1,067 parking spaces, Harmon said. The temp lot adjacent to Lot 2 has 195 spaces, which also are available to students with a valid parking permit. The total number of student parking spaces will be 1,262.
The university expects to have 7,500 students in the fall. Due to the rising enrollment of students, the university plans to build a fourth lot in 2020, said Harmon.
Right now faculty and staff are able to park in lot 3, but beginning fall 2018 they will no longer be allowed to park there. Lots 1 and 2 will be dedicated to faculty and staff who purchase a permit.
Students, faculty and staff can also park on Verano Parkway and University Way for free without the purchase of a parking permit.
One thing the new department will retain from the police department is a grace period the first two weeks of the semester. This will allow students to get used to parking on campus, before the parking department begins issuing citations.
An issue Harmon is addressing with this new department is “communication as whole.”
“I think that we need to communicate our information better about why we do specific things and not just simply because we’re doing it,” Harmon said.
This will be done with a parking and transportation website where students, faculty and staff will be given the option to decide “what’s the best way the website should communicate with them,” said Harmon.
Purchasing of the permits will be done online on the upcoming parking and transportation website.
To help with questions about the new department, the office will be in room 117 of the Central Academic Building. The hours of operation will be 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.