At UC Irvine, carpool drivers receive a free day permit or one-dollar bill to use toward a permit when they drive onto campus.

At UCLA, carpoolers get $54 off the regular quarterly parking pass.

At UCSB, carpoolers have no financial incentive, although they may park in a designated spot – if one is still available.

UCSB’s Transportation Alternatives Program is seeking permission to expand services and benefits for carpools, vanpools and buses, but its programs are still far behind those of other universities’ parking services.

TAP program coordinator James Wagner drafted recommendations to the Parking and Transportation Committee and the Chancellor’s Special Advisory Committee on Parking to expand TAP. Expansion is crucial because of mounting concerns about the environment and loss of parking spaces on campus, Wagner said. The construction of five new buildings on campus between 2002 and 2005 over lots 10 and 20 through 22 will take away an estimated 1,167 parking spaces.

UCSB Planning Director Tye Simpson said all building committees are working closely with the Chancellor’s Special Advisory Committee and submitting recommendations for alternative transportation.

“The primary method of getting to UCSB is in the forms of alternative transportation. More people come to UCSB by bike or by bus than by automobile,” he said. “Clearly the focus of the building committees is on building and the focus of the parking committees is on parking, but at this point everybody realizes they are integrated.”

Wagner’s primary recommendation to reduce parking demand is to offer a discounted parking permit to carpoolers. Although there are designated carpool parking spaces, carpoolers still pay the full permit price of $110 per quarter.

“People are very motivated by dollars and we can offer financial incentives to help people make the choices we want them to make,” Wagner said. “The question is how innovative can we be? How much money can we devote and draw from other sources?”

TAP receives outside funding from fines and forfeitures, the payments collected from parking tickets on campus. Revenues from other sources such as parking permits could help expand the program but are not allotted for this purpose. Other recommendations include offering occasional-use permits, adjusting the class schedule to decrease parking demand at peak times and continuing a pilot program that offers half-price bus passes to faculty and staff.

TAP is waiting for approval to purchase in-vehicle parking meters, electronic devices already used in Europe and Israel, which act as a parking meter debit card with an allotted time paid for and used whenver the car is on campus. The parking committees must approve the new technology before TAP can purchase it.

UCSB employees Ruth Marquette and Kori Soltz live approximately five miles from campus and registered in TAP to receive its carpooling benefits, such as the six free-day parking permits and the Emergency Ride Home Program.

“I’m really glad they have something like this set up,” Marquette said. “By offering more benefits, more people will be involved in carpooling.”

Facilities Management Director David Gonzales said plans for TAP expansion are still being discussed.

“We’re involved in delicate deliberations with the advisory committee and I really can’t say when things are going to change or if they are going to change,” he said. “Transportation alternatives are critical aspects of the total parking and transportation solution on campus and we’re very interested in expanding the [program], but it’s difficult to know if and when any changes in the program will be happening.”