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FAQ Parking Changes 2018-2019

Below are our Frequently Asked Questions regarding the program changes coming in the 2018-2019 academic year. For more information, please also take a look at our Parking Changes for 2018-2019 blog series.

  1. Why do we have to pay for parking?
  2. Will prices continue to increase in the upcoming years?
  3. Why are garage permit prices seeing a larger increase than other permit types?
  4. Why are residential student prices going to be higher than other student permits in 2020?
  5. If I live on campus, will I have to purchase a residential permit?
  6. What transportation plans are available if I think these prices are too expensive?
  7. Why are student lots moving to zone parking?
  8. What if the student zone lot I'm assigned to is full when I get there?
  9. What if I see a car parked in the student lot I'm assigned to?
  10. What if I can't get a lot that's close to my classes?
  11. What if I pick a student zone lot and the next semester I want to change zones to be closer to my new classes?
  12. Are faculty and staff going to move to zone parking as well?
  13. How will zones work during major campus events that impact parking?
  14. What if permits sell out before I get one?
  15. Can my permit be used in multiple zones?
  16. How do I know if I received my top choice permit?
  17. What order should my permit preferences be listed?
  18. What do I do if I’m getting an error or having issues getting my permit?
  19. Why did you move to the new waitlist system for permit registration instead of how it was done before?
  20. If I register for the permit waitlist in April, do I have to pay for it immediately?
  21. What if I need to change my permit waitlist selections after I’ve submitted them?
  22. Who do we contact if we have questions about these changes?
  23. What is UH Parking and Transportation doing to increase parking spaces?
  24. How will construction of garage 5 affect parking lots and roads on campus?

 

Pricing

1. Why do we have to pay for parking?

Parking & Transportation is completely self-funded, and does not receive tuition, student fees or other funding. Therefore, the costs of the service are primarily paid for by parking permit sales.

The two main reasons that our prices are going up next year are to pay for increased shuttle service and the additional parking garages being built to increase the amount of parking spaces on campus.

We recently added the North/South Connector shuttle route and will be evaluating the shuttle routes again before the fall semester to set up the best route options and shuttle availability for faculty, staff and students throughout campus.

A design for a new parking garage for the north side of campus is currently being finalized. Check back for the status of the garage on our Project Updates page.

More information about the increasing permit prices can be found in the Part 2: Rate Changes for 2018-2019 blog post.

2. Will prices continue to increase in the upcoming years?

Rates for FY 19 and FY 20 were approved by the Board of Regents in their March 8 meeting. Specific rates beyond those years are not being proposed or approved at this time. 

However, as the campus continues to grow, our transportation program must also grow to meet the needs of the campus community. This is why we do expect that the prices will continue to increase, but we are keeping the increases as small as we can.

3. Why are garage permit prices seeing a larger increase than other permit types?

Garage debt makes up approximately 53% of Parking & Transportation’s total annual costs.

In fact, if garage prices truly reflected the cost to the program, faculty, staff and student garage annual permits would be $1,000.

Although we aren’t raising the price to the true cost, we are adjusting them so that surface lot permit holders are not subsidizing the cost of the garages.

4. Why are residential student prices going to be higher than other student permits in 2020?

Starting not this coming year but in the 2019-2020 academic year, residential surface lot permits will be more expensive than the usual student surface lot permits. This is due to the way that residential parking has a negative impact on our ability to maximize the use of our available parking space.

Sharing parking spaces between more people allows us to keep parking permit prices lower than they would be otherwise. As parkers come and go they free up spaces for the next person to use. However, residential students’ vehicles remain on campus more than other students’ vehicles. They reduce the number of permits that can be sold overall, and therefore reduce the number of people who can share that cost. We are adjusting their prices in order to make up for that difference.

See our recommendations below for residential students. 

5. If I live on campus, will I have to purchase a residential permit?

Residential students will still have several options for permits:

  1. We strongly suggest residential students don’t bring their vehicles to campus. Instead, join the METRO portion of our COAST program where we’ll preload $27.50/month on to a METRO card for you to use when you need to travel off campus.
  2. If a residential student decides they do want a vehicle on campus, we recommend they purchase a Remote Campus permit. These permits cost only $195 for a full year and allow students to move their vehicles from ERP to the closer surface lots after 4 p.m. and on weekends.
  3. As a last resort, if a student decides to bring their vehicle and they want to have it parked in a close lot at all times, then they will need to purchase one of the garage or residential surface lot permits.

6. What transportation plans are available if I think these prices are too expensive?

Although we are facing rising costs for providing our services, we understand the need to maintain affordable options for transportation.

We are continuing to offer our “economy” permit, which is the Remote Campus permit, which is available to all faculty, staff and students. Even with the price increases, this permit is only $195 for the entire year, which is about $16 per month.

We also offer our COAST program where we help you cover all or most of the cost of transportation for carpooling or riding METRO.

 

Student zone parking

7. Why are student lots moving to zone parking?

We have heard students’ complaints about driving around surface lots looking for open parking spaces. The spaces are there but with so many lots to search through, it can take a while to find them because student permits allow all student permit holders access to all student surface lots.

This is why we’re transitioning student lots to zone parking, a common practice for university programs.

Zone parking will allow students to have one area to park in that they know to go to every day. The permits for each lot will be capped so that only a certain number of people go to each lot for parking.

We will have more information about the specifics of the zone parking program in the Part 3: Zone Parking blog post.

8. What if the student zone lot I’m assigned to is full when I get there?

We will be managing the oversell rates of each lot so that this should not happen.

Of course, we understand there are occasionally times when many people park in the wrong lot all at once, causing it to fill up, such as the first week or two of each semester. During these rare times, keep in mind that parking at ERP and riding a campus shuttle to PGH or the Student Center is the backup option.

We are working to reduce the chances of this issue occurring by making clear signage so that people won’t mistakenly park in the wrong lot, as well as increasing our enforcement next year.

9. What if I see a car parked in the student lot I’m assigned to?

We are developing a reporting system where faculty, staff and students have a way to notify Parking & Transportation of any parking violations they witness. Although we have an enforcement team, we know that on this large of a campus, there are times we miss things.

A reporting system will help us identify areas that are experiencing issues and allow us to make sure the zone system works for everyone trying to park in the right area.

10. What if I can’t get a lot that’s close to my classes?

We opened up permit registrations on Tuesday, Apr. 10. If you have not already done so, we recommend registering your list of permit preferences as soon as you can.

If you don’t get a lot that’s close to your classes and you’re worried about the walking time, we have several suggestions:

  • Sign up for a waitlist for the lot you prefer. If people return their permit to us, we will sell it at a prorated price to the next person on the waitlist.
  • Utilize the North/South Connector shuttle route or one of the other campus shuttles to get dropped off closer to your destination for free

11. What if I pick a student zone lot and the next semester I want to change zones to be closer to my new classes?

If a permit for your preferred zone is available at that time, you can purchase that permit and return your original permit.

If your preferred zone is not available, we have several recommendations:

  • Sign up for a waitlist for the zone you prefer. If people return their permit to us, we will sell it at a prorated price to the next person on the waitlist.
  • Utilize the North/South Connector shuttle route or one of the other campus shuttles to get dropped off closer to your destination for free

12. Are faculty and staff going to move to zone parking as well?

At this time, we do not have any plans to move faculty/staff parking to zone parking.

13. How will zones work during major campus events that impact parking?  

Major campus events have an impact on the entire campus, and zone parking will be no exception. We will work with our campus partners on how to best accommodate large events on a case-by-case basis and share any impacts with affected parkers.

We always try to accommodate our campus partners’ events as we know they are important to the functions of the University but we also do our best to find solutions that reduce disruptions to regular parking as much as possible.

 

Purchasing process

14. What if permits sell out before I get one?

We will open up permit registrations on Tuesday, Apr. 10. We recommend signing up for your preferred lot as soon as you can after registration opens.

If you aren’t able to get the permit you want, or a permit at all, we have several suggestions:

  • Sign up for a waitlist for the lot you prefer. If a permit becomes available, we will contact you via email and the price of the permit will be prorated based on how much time is left in the academic year.
  • Consider other transportation options, such as joining our popular COAST program

15. Can my permit be used in multiple zones?

No, each Student Permit will only be allowed to park in one zone during normal hours (Monday through Friday before 4 p.m.). After 4 p.m. and on weekends, students will be able to park in the other zones.

16. How do I know if I received my top choice permit?

Based on our data of what permits were selected as first choices, the 8,100 students who signed up on day one will be offered their first preference permit when our permit assignment emails go out in July.

In July we will email all students who registered for a permit waitlist notifying them of the permit they’ve been awarded and we will explain next steps and payment options at that time.

17. What order should my permit preferences be listed?

The permit listed as number one in the preferences order is your first choice. You should have received a confirmation email with your selections and you can view the order you selected there.

18. What do I do if I’m getting an error or having issues getting my permit?

Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns!

You can call us at 832-842-1097 or email us at parking@uh.edu.

You can also message us on social media through FacebookTwitter and Instagram

19. Why did you move to the new waitlist system for permit registration instead of how it was done before?

The new process was developed in an effort to help PTS better manage oversell rates for each zone, which in turn will help ensure success of the new Zone Parking Program.

Also, there is a lot of sorting on the back end that Parking and Transportation has to do between April and when the confirmation emails go out in July. Some information needed, such as whether or not a student is a resident, is not in the system in April when we need to begin the sign up process.

20. If I register for the permit waitlist in April, do I have to pay for it immediately?

No, when we email you in July about the permit you received, we will give you the opportunity to pay by card, apply the permit price to your student fee bill or cancel the permit purchase completely.

If you do not take the steps to cancel the permit or pay for the permit by card before the deadline listed in the email, the permit will be charged to your student fee bill. For information about paying for your charges on your student account, please visit the Student Financial Services website.

21. What if I need to change my permit waitlist selections after I’ve submitted them?

Students needing to change their permit selections before emails go out in July may do so through AccessUH but changes must be made by June 30, 2018. In order to not lose their place in the registration lineup, students should only rearrange their selected permit options rather than add additional ones. If a student adds a new permit type to their waitlist, their selections will have an updated timestamp, moving the student back in line. This is another reason we recommend that students add and arrange all permits to their list during signup.

General

22. Who do we contact if we have questions about these changes?

If you weren't able to make it to one of our outreach events to talk to us in person, there are still some easy ways to get ahold of us!

You can call us at 832-842-1097 or email us at parking@uh.edu.

You can also message us on social media through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

23. What is UH Parking and Transportation doing to increase parking spaces?

As the campus continues to grow quickly, so does our parking program. We already have plans for two new parking garages, a new surface lot (MacGregor) and an expansion to our popular COAST program, where we offer financial incentives for faculty, staff and students who carpool or ride METRO.

Stay informed about our ongoing projects through our Project Updates page.

24. How will construction of garage 5 affect parking lots and roads on campus?

Construction of Garage 5 will start in the summer of 2018 after commencements ceremonies have ended and campus traffic has reduced. The location of Garage 5 can be seen on the zone parking map for 2018-2019. The impact construction for Garage 5 will have on Zone C is already part of the zone plan so that students can see the parts of lots 18A and 18B that won’t be available anymore. Once completed, this garage will provide about 2,400 parking spaces. Check our Project Updates page throughout the Garage 5 project for status updates.