Doug Holmes, IPI Prez, Parking guru at Penn State and founder and owner of one of the most active parking sites on earth, the Cpark-L list serve, has used his background and wisdom to clear up a matter that has concerned me for years, charging for parking on University Campuses. First the question as it came in:
We are moving towards changing its parking culture and requiring everyone to pay for parking with the exception of the Board of Trustees and the members of the Foundation Board. We have multiple advisory boards for colleges, our IT department, etc. and they all meet on a monthly basis. I imagine other universities have the same situation. How much do you charge these groups and how are these individuals charged? Please elaborate on your permitting procedures.for advisory boards, volunteers, etc.
And Doug’s response:
We have worked very hard to ensure that all permits are issued on a fee basis and that fees charged are the same for similar levels of privileges. Our Trustees permits are paid for out of central funding, although not out of the individual trustees pocketbooks. Even research subjects that have parking permits are assessed a fee. In most cases, however, the department benefiting from the research usually picks up the tab. The reason for this is that for every "free" permit that is issued, someone is picking up the tab. If you are operating independently, from a financial stand point, that means that students, faculty, staff or someone who is paying for their parking service is actually subsidizing the "free" parking.
Even volunteers, such as the docents at the museums on campus have a fee assessed on their permits, although the curators of the individual museums pay for the permits out of their budgets.
When you start giving away parking privileges, it becomes very difficult to draw the line. You start getting into a who is more worthy situation. So charge them all or at least make someone responsible to pick up the tab. It is amazing how many fewer permits someone can get by with when they have to pay for them!!!
The last graph is the key — "It is amazing how many fewer permits someone can get by with when they have to pay for them." Amen.
OK, give the donor of the new wing on the hospital free parking, but have the hospital pay for it. That way, they will think about it before they give it to every doctor, head nurse, and grad student.