Parking, Upass costs increase

Elizabeth Cook

Students who drive or take the bus to campus will have to dip into their wallets a little more, as the cost of parking has been set to increase at University lots.

New prices for the daily parking lots on the East Bank and in St. Paul, carpool lots, premium lots and bus passes went into effect July 1. The cost of contract parking is increased between $1 and $3, depending on what lot is used.

Mary Sienko, marketing manager for Parking and Transportation Services, said the reason for these increases is the rise in energy costs for the parking and transportation department.

“The price of doing business has gone up,” she said. “All our utilities have really shot up.”

Jacqueline Brudlos, a marketing coordinator for Parking and Transportation Services, said their department typically spends $160,000 on utilities each year.

Every year the University has the option to increase its parking prices, and last year was the first time in four years it did, Sienko said.

The choice depends on how much the University will lose, “whether we chose to eat the cost or pass it along to our customer,” she said.

The reasons for the increases in the past few years are inflation, energy costs and a 3.5 percent increase for payroll, Brudlos said. There have also been increases in the cost of insurance.

Some students said they don’t mind paying a little extra since the price was already high.

Jenna Arotta, a first-year physical therapy student who recently transferred from St. Olaf in Northfield, said she thought $3.50 a day was expensive, but found a way around it.

Before coming here she planned on parking in the lots across from Mariucci Arena but discovered a cheaper lot down the street.

Computer engineering sophomore Nick Lafleur said the lots are cheap when compared with the parking ramps.

Lafleur used to spend almost $7 a day before getting contract parking for $61 a semester.

“It’s a lot cheaper than the ramp, that’s for sure,” he said.

Lafleur said he plans to get a UPass, which is a discounted bus pass the University offers each semester.

The UPass will increase in price $2 starting this fall, from $60 to $62.