With Declining Permit Sales, Parking and Transportation Services Predict Revenue Losses for 2020-2021 – The Oracle

As of September 2, only 12,457 licenses had been purchased so far this year, a drop of over 70% from the sale of 37,945 licenses the previous year. ORACLE PHOTO / LEDA ALVIM

With most courses online and fewer students on campus, the seemingly impossible task of finding parking during a regular fall semester week has never been easier as parking lots around campus are dominated. by emptiness and an unusual void.

This atypical reality, however, has had a significant impact on the operations of Parking and Transportation Services, and with a difficult fiscal year ahead, the department expects a loss of nearly half of its multi million-dollar income from the sale of parking permits, as many students have chosen not to return to campus due to the switch to online courses.

The budget for Parking and Transportation Services for the 2020-2021 fiscal year before the pandemic is projected $ 9.75 million parking permit sales, according to assistant director of communications for administrative services Aaron Nichols. A reassessment of the budget now planned In regards to $ 5.3 million in parking permit sales – less than half of the amount needed to run parking operations on Campus.

With the loss of income and less activity to watch on campus, Parking and Transportation Services is adjusting by making other hiring decisions this year.

As of September 3, PATS had 98 employees, of which 65 were in administrative positions, 21 other personal services employees (PSOs) and 12 students.

“We have suspended some vacancies for this fiscal year,” Nichols said. “Some student and part-time employees have chosen not to return to work for various reasons.”

Parking and transportation services have experienced downsizing for financial reasons as well as COVID-19 related restrictions, such as limiting the capacity of people allowed on each Bull Runner at a time.

With around 48 active drivers, the Bull Runner, USF’s bus system that students, faculty, and staff can borrow for free with their USF IDs, currently only allows nine passengers at a time.

“So far this has not been a problem. If drivers encounter situations where the demand is higher than a bus can meet, the Bull Runner dispatch will realign the other buses to meet the demand, ”Nichols said in an email to The Oracle. “The driver will inform passengers who cannot be accommodated to know that another bus is on the way.”

Matthew Melton, a graduate student in medical engineering, based his housing decision to be able to drive the Bull Runner to avoid parking problems.

“[I] I purposely got an apartment close enough to campus to ride the Bull Runner, ”Melton said. “In this way, [I] would never have to worry about parking. Plus, free transportation doesn’t mean spending money on gasoline.

However, some have gone ahead and bought permits out of necessity and said they have experienced a world of USF parking that is very different from normal circumstances, where thousands of people are vying for places.

“I bought a parking pass,” said Josh Carter, senior director of corporate finance, who has to be on campus four days a week. “I had no problem finding a place. I can even leave and come back and generally have no trouble finding a good seat.

While Carter bought a permit for the semester, others went ahead and made the purchase for the whole year.

“I bought an annual pass because it’s the best deal if you plan to be on campus in the fall, spring, and summer, but now I regret it because the school will likely end up shut down and people don’t seem to be ticketed anyway, ”Major Accountant Erin Kerrigan said. “I don’t think they should have charged for parking this year. [The] the purchase was probably not worth it.

“A few of my friends have told me that they didn’t buy a parking pass because they were waiting to see if the school would close, but they haven’t been ticketed yet. “

Annual parking permits for residents, student commuters, and employees range from $ 156 to over $ 400, and parking permits for one semester range from $ 91 to $ 135. If a driver does not have a license, they can also choose to use a daily parking pass for $ 5 or a timed parking spot, which allows parking from 30 minutes to eight hours.

Tickets for vehicles parked on campus without a license or active stickers cost $ 30, but some students were willing to take the risk.

“I have a course two days a week and I haven’t bought a parking pass or used a meter. There are tons of parking [at the] BSN building and nobody gave me a ticket yet, so I would say the parking on campus is pretty cool right now, ”said Gillian Gaines, math major.

Since most students have many of their courses online, opting out of purchasing a permit seems to be the most popular option, which explains how easy it is to find parking now, either or no at the risk of paying fines.

In fact, only 12,457 permits – students, residents, employees and other specialty permits – were purchased this year between July 1 and September 2. This is a decrease of over 70% from the sale of 37,945 permits the previous year, and even more from the 2018-19 fiscal year, when 40,749 parking permits were sold. .

Delaying the purchase of permits can save those who usually go to and from campus $100 over $200 – money that would not be refunded either if the campus were to close its operations again as it did in the spring semester.

“If it is necessary to go back to a previous phase of our plan to return to campus, for example in phase I Under the plan, all courses are remote, there are currently no plans to reimburse the cost of the parking permits, ”Nichols said. “This decision can be reviewed by the management of the university if such a situation arises.”

For some students, the conversation about spring refunds was a big factor in their decision not to purchase a permit for that semester and year. before.

“[I] I didn’t buy one and didn’t intend to, ”said Tess Etheridge, senior major in Biomedical Sciences. “I think everyone can agree that the fact that the university does not reimburse the spring semester passes also had a huge impact on our opinion.

“The university that did not refund spring passes due to COVID was selfish. Everyone on the Facebook pages was pissed off at the lack of care and support the university had towards us who wanted a simple refund. The pass was for the whole semester, not half. First, some people got their money back, but then they quit because of the excess of people who wanted to get their money back.. “

Number of people do not buy a parking permit because they miss the raison d’être on campus will continue to affect parking and transportation services like It is project a 35 percent overall loss of revenue for the 2020-2021 fiscal year. “I would have gotten a pass if that meant some of the money I spent on the spring pass was carried over to this semester, but it didn’t,” he said. Etheridge said. “It is more profitable just pay the parking meter or even not come.

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