As of July 1, UC Davis Transportation and Parking Services (TAPS) increased prices for all monthly parking permits — except for the L and DSA (Disabled) permits — by $2 and increased daily parking prices from $7 to $8.
The L permits are available to all UC Davis faculty, staff and students living off campus and are sold at a less expensive monthly price than the A and C permits. Parking spaces for the L permits are limited to a few remote lots meaning permit holders will have to walk farther to get to class or work.
The last time parking prices were increased was in 2011, when one dollar was added to both monthly permits and to daily parking passes.
According to a news release made by TAPS in May, the increase in parking prices was due to a decline in the purchases of parking permits.
“The 2013-14 rate increases are necessary in order to offset reduced revenues from permit sales over the past four years as well as the increased operating costs of TAPS programs and services,” the release stated.
TAPS is a self-supporting campus organization. It does not receive funding from the state, and receives a limited amount of money from UC Davis. Most of TAPS’ revenue comes from selling these parking permits.
Thirty-five percent of the TAPS operating budget, almost $3.4 million, goes into maintaining and renovating parking structures.
“ We attribute [the need to increase revenue] partially to the recession. When there are increased gas prices we see people drive to campus less,” said TAPS director Clifford Contreras. “We also count West Village as a factor because students living there are not allowed to buy parking permits due to the reliable shuttle service that runs through [as well as its] proximity to campus.”
Contreras said that increased enrollment in the UC Davis goClub has also added to the decrease in parking permit sales. UC Davis goClub is a program run by TAPS that encourages UC Davis students and faculty who commute to the campus to choose an alternative to driving. Alternate methods include carpooling, biking, walking or taking the bus or train.
Transportation Demand and Marketing Coordinator Leslie Mancebo said membership since 2011 has nearly doubled from 2,836 students in September 2011 to 5,639 students in September 2013.
“As awareness and goClub membership grow, we have seen a consistent decline in parking permit purchases,” Mancebo said in an email interview. “We have found that word of mouth is the biggest source of goClub membership referrals, but we also promote the program at campus events, at TAPS, new staff orientation and other outreach programs.”
The goClub is free to join for anyone associated with UC Davis, but members are not allowed to buy a monthly, quarterly or yearly parking permit during the duration of their membership. Perks include temporary free parking passes on days when biking or walking is not an option.
“I had a permit my sophomore year but now it’s too expensive, and I live closer to campus. I feel like there aren’t enough parking spaces and there are too many unused A spots,” said Shayline Loanzon, a fourth-year English major.
A permits are available for UC Davis faculty and staff, while C permits are available for faculty, staff and students not living on campus. Monthly A permits are currently priced at $51, which is $9 more than monthly C permits, and they give access to higher quality parking spaces.
On this subject, Contreras said that parking rate structures are based on convenience and access. Because A permit spots are located at the front of the parking lots, they are the first spots drivers see. They may also see that less of these spots are being parked in, while many more of the C permit spots are being used.
“We have never in history seen the utilization of every C permit spot,” Contreras said.
Contreras said internal cuts were made before parking rate increases were decided on.
“We always take a look at the entire budget first,” Contreras said. “In the last five years we were able to eliminate three and a half full-time positions, lower our hours of operation, retrofit parking facility lights to cut $55,000 a year and make cuts in marketing and supplies.”
In order to manage TAPS funds, Contreras said there will likely be another increase in parking prices next year, although it is currently unknown what or how much the increase will be.
MELISSA DITTRICH can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.