Education Code: “The governing board of each institution of higher education may charge a reasonable fee to students, faculty, and staff for registration g of a vehicle under Section 51.202 of this code.”
“All compulsory student services fees charged and collected under this section by the governing board of an institution of higher education, other than a public junior college, shall be assessed in proportion to the number of semester credit hours for which a student registers. No portion of the compulsory fees collected may be expended for parking facilities or services, except as related to providing shuttle bus services ”
(b) The governing board may fix and collect a reasonable fee or fees for the provision of facilities and the enforcement and administration of parking and traffic regulations approved by the board for an institution; provided, however, that no such fee may be charged to a student unless the student desires to use the facilities.
Until 2004, customers with a blue permit could park in any blue lot. Customers with a red permit could park in any red lot. As simple as this seems it caused major problems for our customers. Because red lots were around both the north and south side dorms and Kyle fields it created a system where expectations were set such that customers with a red permit thought they were going to be able to park near their dorm. This was not the case because so much of the red parking lots were around Kyle (today lots day 62 and 48). The current system correctly sets expectations because customers with a lot 40 permit will have a spot in one of the lots around the south side dorms.
A similar situation occurred in the blue lots. Present day lot 50 (1638 spaces) was part of the blue system along with about 10000 spaces on west campus. Most blue permit holders expected to be able to park in 50 and would circle the lot and follow parkers back to their cars hoping to get a space. This caused traffic congestion and delays in that part of campus. Customers would get extremely frustrated with us and the system because they could not find a space and would often be late for class. We often would hear complaints from students needing to come 60-90 minutes early to find a space. This was clearly a sign of a system that was broken even though it was very simple on paper.
The current system correctly sets expectations and allows some mobility between main and west campus. All of the sections of Lot 100 are open to any valid permit so a customer with a permit for Lot 50, for example, can move over to west campus if they need to by parking in Lot 100. Traffic has also been reduced by about 30%.
Charging little or nothing for a product or service encourages overuse. Many who may not purchase a permit now will begin if the price falls. There is less incentive to ride transit, bikes or carpool. It is the management's belief that overall, the number of permits issued will increase. No matter how the fee is assessed, the funding will always come from those consuming the service. Lowering the burden on some only shifts it to others. Those who pay more will ask why anyone should pay less for the same product and service. This will clearly not make everyone happy. There will then be pressure to adjust for proximity to one's building which does not work due to the potential exchanging of permits. This has been done only in a very few instances and would not be considered an industry standard. The current pricing structure has provided rates that are very competitive with the rates at comparable universities.
Why should parking be the only salary or longevity-based product for sale on campus? Should one's health care, dining or other good or service be based on income or longevity? Charging different parking fees based on salary or longevity might have a negative impact on the recruiting of some faculty and staff.
Salary-based fees would be a difficult process to implement requiring constant access to pay rates, names and other security sensitive information. Maintaining this data coudl increase its potential exposure to unauthorized access. It must also be accessed at the very least once a year on each employee to keep up with any changes in salary. There is a question of whether this is even possible with the current payroll software. There is an element of "bracket creep" which will occur when a salary is adjusted up. This could create negative unintended consequences or conflicts.
If two employees share a permit there is a question of which employee's salary or longevity on which to base the permit fee.