Parking Fees Explained

TravelSmart: Parking Fees Explained

In the fall of 2014 we started a process to provide more alternatives to transport people to work in ways other than everyone driving a single-occupant vehicle.  Even though TravelSmart is not officially a part of Parking Services, the most common concern we hear is related to the cost of parking: Why do we have to pay to park here?  Where does all that money go?

As it turns out Parking does not generate profit.  Yes, money is collected but it actually covers a variety of expenses. A major snowstorm can cost us $45,000 or more!  While some businesses can wait until it stops snowing to clear snow, the Med Center is a 24/7 patient care operation and for everyone’s safety, sidewalks and parking lots are continuously and repeatedly cleared and salted, while snow from parking garages actually has to be physically relocated to an off-site location.

Following is a list of where parking fees are spent:

  • Bond Payment; paying off loans and interest for the construction of parking garages, 46%.
  • Operating Expenses; snow removal, jumpstarts, 16%
  • Personnel; staffing for Parking office and enforcement, 14%
  • Utilities; water and electricity in parking lots and garages 6%
  • Supplies; fuel, signage, hardware, elevators, mandatory fire alarm testing, 4%
  • Improvements; resurfacing, minor repairs, lighting upgrades, 2%
  • Capital Improvement; whatever is leftover is put into Capital Improvement to cover future major expenses or overages, averages 12%. This covers anything from the unexpected demo of a parking structure, excessive snow, expansion joint repair, or expenses related to vandalism.  Collecting smaller amounts at a time prevents the Med Center from having to increase parking fees by a large amount when something major occurs.  All fees collected goes back into parking infrastructure, it doesn’t cover anything not related to parking.  If this account has an excess, your parking rates may stay the same.  If not, parking rates could go up.

So this begs the question, how do other places in town handle parking if they don’t charge their employees to park?  Answer: they do, they just don’t tell them.  If parking is owned or leased by an employer, the employee helps to pay for expenses.  It may not be a specific line-item on the pay stub, but they pay for it with fewer vacation days, fewer benefits, smaller raises, something.  We have an advantage because we have a choice.  If I don’t want to pay, I don’t park and that’s money I save.

Interested in saving money?  Check out the TravelSmart page for information on active transportation options that will get you to campus, allow you to park for less or free, and save you money on transportation.

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