By: Bob Browand
This week is part two of the Parking Preview for 2018-2019 blog series where we're covering the major changes coming to Parking and Transportation next year. This series includes:
- Part 1: Overview of the major changes
- Part 2: An in-depth look at the new rates
- Part 3: Zone parking and the new buying process
- Part 4: Outreach events
This week we’re delving into the details of the new rates, including how rates are determined, where the money goes and some solutions for faculty, staff and students who want to save money.
We are bringing the proposed rates to the Board of Regents for approval on Mar. 8.
Our department is completely self-funded, which means we do not receive any tuition or fees that students pay to the university. That leaves permit sales as our primary source of revenue.
We worked to find all changes we could make next year in order to cut this price increase as much as possible. This includes reviewing our policies and procedures to identify areas where we can cut costs and increase revenue from non-parking permit sources.
After these changes were made, we were able to reduce the price increase to an average of 9%. Although no price increase is ideal, we hope this at least demonstrates that prices are never raised without consideration of all other options to cover costs.
The cost of doing business is steadily increasing and in order to continue to provide and improve upon our services we unfortunately need to raise rates in order to sustain our operations.
Our program is growing and we’re even working to incorporate UH Sugar Land within our operation.
Where your dollars go
The main reason that prices are going up this year is to pay for garages and increased shuttle service.
Garages are essential to meet the needs of our growing campus because they are more efficient than surface lots at using the limited land we have downtown in a major city.
However, garage debt makes up over 40% of our annual costs. In fact, if permit prices actually covered their true cost, garage permits for faculty, staff and students would be at least $1,000 each year.
Garages five is on the way, adding about 2,400 parking spaces and we’ve already started planning our garage six. Road construction to begin garage five will start this summer. We’ll post updates about these garages and more on our Project Updates page.
With over 232,000 riders each year, the Cougar Line Shuttles have become a vital way faculty, staff and especially students get around campus, to ERP and to residential areas. We recently added the North/South Connector route and before the fall semester we’ll be reevaluating all shuttle routes to make adjustments as needed for the new academic year.
We understand people have budgets and we encourage people to explore options outside of driving single-rider vehicles to campus. Below are a few suggested alternatives, although there are more than what we list here.
Our COAST program offers financial incentives for faculty, staff and students who carpool or ride METRO to campus. This program is growing and soon we’ll offer options for those who have to drive to campus several days a week but can ride METRO most days.
If you’re interested in participating in COAST and want to speak with us about it more, please fill out the COAST Information Request Form and a member of our team will contact you.
Remote Campus Parking
The Remote Campus Permit is our affordable permit option available to all UH faculty, staff and students. Even with the rate changes next year, the Remote Campus permit will cost $185 for a full twelve months. That comes out to just about $0.51 a day for a full calendar year!
We offer several campus shuttles between this parking location at ERP and main areas on campus, and after 4 p.m. on weekdays and all day on weekends, this permit type allows you to also park in the closer student and faculty/staff surface lots on campus.
If you live on or near campus, let our Cougar Line Shuttles take you where you need to go instead of bringing your vehicle.
If you live on campus but need to regularly go off campus, instead of paying to park, you can join our COAST program where we will cover all or most of your cost to ride METRO. Take a look at our campus shuttle routes and you’ll see that we even have routes that drop off and pick up from Eastwood Transit Center, as well as multiple METRO stops, making it easier to get around town.
Bike-riders/cyclists can utilize one of several dedicated bike paths or lanes that connect the campus to a variety of neighborhoods. If you live in downtown, midtown, east downtown or the Museum District, considering using one of these bike paths. More information can be found on the Houston Bikeways website.
Those who bring a bike to campus should register their bike with UHPD.
We’re also working to bring a bike-sharing program to campus that will provide a low-cost way for students to rent bicycles.
Please check out the Frequently Asked Questions page for more information and our Part 3 blog post about the Student Zone Parking Program.