In an at times heated meeting on Monday, the Transportation and Parking Services (TPS) Ratepayers’ Board recommended an increase in night and weekend parking rates for non-permit holders from $2 to $3.
The motion also stated that advance parking permits for special events on campus should increase in price from $1.50 to $2. Both changes, however, will not be implemented any earlier than April 1. The recommendation now goes to Chancellor Henry Yang, who ultimately makes the decision of whether to increase fees.
The Parking Ratepayers’ Board consists of a group of faculty, staff and students who decide parking fee increases and provide oversight in TPS matters, including the department’s budget.
The raise in fees was initially recommended last year, but yesterday’s meeting finalized the process to send the proposal to the chancellor.
According to history professor and Parking Ratepayer Board member Harold Drake, the increased fees will ensure daytime permit holders – including faculty and staff – do not pay a disproportionate part of the revenue for TPS, which maintains parking lots and structures.
“In the mid 1980s, an annual parking permit cost $60,” Drake said. “A permit now costs [about $432] – that’s about seven times as much. I calculated that if night and weekend permits had increased at the same rate, one would cost about $3.50 now.”
Despite the board’s unanimous consent to raise the fees, Arts & Lectures Manager Roman Baratiak, who does not sit on the board, argued during the meeting that the increase might discourage patrons from attending campus events. He expressed concern that fees would be raised every subsequent year.
“At what point will the public say, ‘No, we’re not going to pay that, we’re not going to go to these events?'” Baratiak said.
Baratiak also said Arts & Lectures employees would be “on the front lines” explaining to customers why they would suddenly have to pay more to park.
“This is a public relations nightmare,” he said. “When people find out about the increase, they contact the events’ organizers.”
Drake said that, if approved, the fee increase would likely go into effect either the first day of Spring Quarter or on June 1, which is the first day of the new fiscal year.
“I’m optimistic that [Chancellor Yang] will say yes,” Drake said. “This motion is fair. It’s a compromise in that it takes into consideration that daytime parking rates have gone up, and it also takes the community into consideration.”
The board also discussed the allocation of parking ratepayer funds. Drake said the UC Academic Senate has established that money collected through permits and citations from ratepayers must be used exclusively to improve parking. However, he said these funds are often used for programs that are not directly related to parking.
“We pay $45,000 a year to the [UC] Police Department, and what exactly are they doing [with that money]? Walking around, driving through parking lots? Do we need it? I don’t know,” Drake said.