Commuters to see sliding scale parking-rate structure

Courtney Lewis

Beginning July 1, parking rates will change at all University ramps and lots on the Twin Cities campus.

Parking ramp rates will change to a sliding scale – the hourly rate decreases the longer the vehicle is parked. Parking less than three hours will cost more than under the current rate structure. Parking more than three hours will cost less.

Under the current rate structure, the daily maximum charge is $18. With the sliding scale, it will be $12. Daily lot rates will increase from $3 to $3.25.

Some lots will see more than a 25-cent increase. The St. Paul lot located outside the Earle Brown Continuing Education Center, for instance, will increase by 75 cents, from $4.25 to $5.

Parking contracts will also increase by 9 percent, starting Oct. 1.

Bob Baker, director of Parking and Transportation Services, said next year’s $6.3 million parking and transportation debt made the rate hikes necessary.

“We need money,” Baker said.

For some students, such as sociology senior and two-year commuting student Gina Roelofs, the rate hike will make driving to the University more taxing.

“It would cost me over $100 a month,” Roelofs said.

But Roelofs said she sees no other choice for commuters.

“If we want to park at the ‘U,'” she said, “we have to pay whatever we’re asked.”

Baker recommended using the U-Pass, adding that the 10,100 University students who used the discounted Metro Transit bus pass during fall semester saved a total of $7 million.

Students who want to drive and save money should look into parking contracts or carpooling, he said.

“If they absolutely have to have a car on campus, carpooling is the cheapest option,” Baker said.