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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Going green gaining appeal with permit prices climbing

    Cars parked in the Cherry Ave Garage across from Arizona Stadium Tuesday, September 9.
    Cars parked in the Cherry Ave Garage across from Arizona Stadium Tuesday, September 9.

    UA parking prices just took some steps up – three steps, to be exact.

    The Parking and Transportation Services will implement a parking rate increase that will expand over three years, starting in 2009. The program has been put into action to generate revenue for future parking garage construction and enhanced alternative transportation methods, PTS officials said.

    As of the 2008-2009 school year, the permit for a parking structure is priced at $518. This rate will increase to $634 for a parking structure in 2009, then to $750 in 2010, and another increase will bring the price to $800 in 2011. All other permit types will follow suit with the rate of increase.

    PTS marketing manager Bill Davidson explained why PTS deemed the implementation of the three-year program essential.

    “”What many students do not know is that Parking and Transportation receives no government funding, so every program we have is paid for through parking permits,”” Davidson said. “”We have been looking to fund alternative methods of transportation to stay in line with our commitment of sustainability, and this rate increase will fund these programs.””

    Davidson explained the revenue created through the price increases would fund the Bicycle Sharing Program and the Car Sharing Program. Both programs are designed to offer hourly car or bike rentals to members of the program. Students and employees of the university can become members.

    Cat Tran plans on increasing the number of routes with the growing population of the university.

    “”Right now, we have five routes, but that will grow in the near future,”” Davidson said. “”We will establish the routes depending on the demand and where most students live.””

    Along with the Sharing programs and Cat Tran’s increasing travel routes, PTS plans on increasing the subsidy of the Sun Tran bus pass.

    “”Right now, we subsidize the bus passes up to 50 percent and sell them back to the UA students and employees,”” Davidson said. “”We are presently in negotiation with Sun Tran and the City of Tucson to increase our subsidies, so next year we hope to increase it quite a bit.””

    Many financially-minded students are unhappy with the permit price increase, regardless of the programs it creates.

    Communications junior Logan Seaver said that many students will be upset with having to pay more for parking in the upcoming years.

    “”With everyone complaining about how high the permit prices are this year, I doubt that many students will be buying them next year,”” Seaver said. “”The parking permit increase and all the other increases are a lot for the students to worry about. I’m not paying for one.””

    In comparison to other institutions around the nation, the UA’s permit prices are lower than two-thirds of these universities. While UA students are paying around $630 starting next year, their friends at ASU are paying more than $800 now, PTS officials stated.

    PTS created a model type that addressed the cost of the different travel methods of students and employees of the UA. The model states that the yearly cost of someone driving alone everyday, assuming that gas is about $3 a gallon, comes to an astounding $1,535. If people plan on carpooling to and from campus, that lowers the cost substantially to $510 if there are three people in the car. But the most budget-minded means of transportation, PTS officials said, is the Sun Tran bus pass. The bus pass for an academic year comes to a cost of $112.

    The demand for alternative methods of transportation is huge, Davidson said, added that the demand for the Sun Tran bus pass has increased 30 percent since August.

    “”Oil prices are high and people are looking for different ways to get around,”” Davidson said.

    Some students look at the price increases as a push in the right direction for the university to lower carbon dioxide emissions, and that they will lead toward a “”greener campus.””

    Pre-business sophomore Morgan Boushka said that her driving habits would be changed after the price increases, but in the long run it is a good thing.

    “”I will try my best to stay away from driving to and from campus after the prices increase next year,”” Boushka stated. “”Although the price increase is bad news, it pushes everyone to start riding his or her bikes and carpooling. I think it will help the U of A to start being more environmentally-minded.””

    As the UA’s student population continues to increase, Davidson said the PTS program will bring great things for the future.

    “”I see the demand for alternative transportation is going to continue to increase. The world and the economy are changing so much, and I know the university wants to continue to grow,”” Davidson explained. “”As the student population continues to grow, Parking and Transportation Services needs to accommodate that growth by looking toward alternative methods of transportation. That is the future.””

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