Each year, both commuting and residential students buy parking passes that enable them to park in the lots at the University of Rhode Island, however, as full lots littered with potholes has become a standard in morning commutes, some students wonder where that parking pass money goes.
Parking and Transportation Services at the university has a total revenue income of $3.1 million in the current year with the calendar year ending in June, according to manager Joe Paradise. However, the expenses for the department in the current year came to $3.2 million.
According to Paradise, all the revenues collected through permit sales stay within the department to help defray the costs of current maintenance projects, building new parking facilities, salaries of the staff and to make payments on previously built parking structures. A portion of these fees contribute to operations costs like lighting the parking lots and the blue light phone systems associated with Public Safety.
The revenue income consists of parking permits and transportation fees. The commuter parking permit is $175 per year and the resident parking permit is $250 per year. Transportation fees within the university cover the shuttle bus services on campus, separate from the parking permit fee. All students at the university, depending on whether they are full time or part time, pay the transportation fee. The fee for a full time student is $45 per semester deducted through students’ tuition.
Parking and Transportation Services also offers a weekly and a monthly pass to students that may decide to take their car to school at the end of the semester. There are no semester passes for those students who study abroad or are only in need of a pass for one semester. “We’re possibly looking for one in the future, but there’s not a high enough demand for that,” he said, “It’s easy to make a semester pass. It’s easy to do, but there are costs associated with it.”
There are always more permits sold than there are spaces. Paradise said that if permits were sold based on a one permit per student system, there would be thousands of students denied parking passes each year. Because few students occupy a space for more than four to five hours a day here and parking spaces turnover consistently, this enables the department to issue more permits than there are spots.
Parking has created a buzz around the university and complaints from students about lack of spots have surfaced. Paradise said they have looked at ideas for the Fine Arts lot at the top of campus. “That is a premium lot as it’s just in high demand,” he said. There is sufficient parking in Plains Lot and the shuttle system compliments the parking lots. “They work hand in hand,” he said. The department is working to make the shuttle system more accurate.
“I always say this: parking is not a problem at URI, convenience is a problem,” Paradise said. The university plans to do a parking and transportation study due to changing demographics and design plan.