When looking at the big picture and considering the number of customers
who access the campus per year (i.e., 45,000 students, 14,000 faculty
and staff, countless visitors), chaos would ensue if they took advantage
of parking illegally - even just once. "Warnings" are posted throughout
the campus on the signs that read "Permit Required", "24 Hour Reserved",
"Fire Lane", etc. In addition, we have found that issuing warnings does
not stop actions of violators. We promise to our permit holders that
they will be able to find a space in their assigned lot. We want to
reward the customers who behave as good stewards and do not negatively
impact their fellow Aggies by ensuring that they may park.
I read that one of the main reasons parking permits have increased
in costs is due to the fact that the parking garages cost so much to
build. If we are paying extra for parking because of this, why do we
have to pay by the hour to park in the garages, even at night?
It takes several sources of revenue (annual permits, timed visitor, special event fees and fines) to support the system. Parking auxiliaries at a Texas public university cannot be funded by the state. All costs must be paid for through fees charged to users. If someone utilizes a parking space, they should be paying or paid for. If not, then enforcement methods are employed to assure that the permit holder is not subsidizing this use. It is true that the price of parking permits will rise over time like any other product. Debt service, custodial, maintenance, personnel and equipment costs are significant. Gated access controlled locations are expensive to maintain and operate. When comparing our rates to other universities, it is important to compare apples to apples with regards to service. What one university calls a commuter permit is not necessarily what another offers. Our general surface permit is priced at $275. However, UT Austin boasts a commuter permit for much less. A TAMU-TS permit offers the guarantee of a space on campus while UT is more of a “license to hunt” without a sales limit. Those lucky enough to find a space will likely be at a park and ride lot across I-35 from campus. Most universities cannot offer this guarantee of space. Our rates generally fare very well when the level of service is considered and are generally below average in those comparisons. Certainly our garage and reserved parking rates are some of the lowest in the country. Parking Services at Texas A&M University is generally considered industry wide as one of the finest on any campus in the nation.
As an example, a garage permit is currently priced at $444 (FY13). Debt service for the West Campus Garage alone (not the passageway) is approximately $700 per year per space (Currently WCG discounted to $275). This doesn’t even touch on maintenance or utilities. So the difference has to be made up through a system of permits for space, turnover and charges for use which are tailored to meet various customer needs yet cover the cost of the system. These methods are industry standards. New construction of garages can place a great deal of pressure on rates. The cost of a single garage space can range from $15,000 to $25,000 and higher. However, a surface space, even in concrete, will run about $3,000 per space. Management does its best to maintain and add surface parking where possible. Unfortunately the needs of the overall university and service to the customer sometimes demand structured parking. In this case, the last source of revenue that will be increased is the annual permit. The more pressure placed on departmental resources the more likely permit rates are to be effected.
Permit holders also hold night and weekend parking privileges which allow
for parking outside of their designated lot. See Night
& Weekend Parking.
Parking is a system. The annual fee for the year is prorated. Due
to fewer demands on the system, there are more parking options available
during the summer. However, the cost of providing the service does not diminish
in the same way student population fluctuates.
Parking enforcement is a service that is necessary for the University. As with all departments, parking officers are provided with the equipment necessary to perform the tasks asked of them. Most officers do conduct their patrol on foot. Some ride bikes. Supervisors who are required to oversee larger sections of campus or officers required to deliver or make use of equipment use vehicles that meet these demands. With the TAMU campus size, off main campus duties, weather and demands for prompt service, walking and riding bikes simply doesn't always get the job done.