Students are preparing for the day parking permits go on sale next week, but some are surprised at the change in prices.
With parking passes going on sale starting on July 10 for faculty and staff. The window opens for students starting July 17.
Prices for the 2017-2018 school year are $400 for a reserved garage permit, $200 for a commuter permit, and $100 for a Park-N-Ride permit.
Jarvis Benson, a junior International Studies and Spanish major recently took his frustrations to Facebook in a post about how high parking permit prices have become.
“$300 for a decal is absolutely unacceptable!” he wrote.
“My first reaction was disbelief,” Benson said. “I thought that, surely, it was a typo, or perhaps the price was for my next two years here. But I quickly realized that this wasn’t a mistake and the price was set in stone.”
With almost 100 shares and more than 350 likes, Benson says that he has received mostly positive feedback from his post.
“Most of the comments have been the same as my initial reaction,” Benson said. “Many seem to be either shocked, angry or somewhere in between.”
Benson mentions in his post that, “Auburn University, which has roughly the same student population as The University of Mississippi, charges $180 and $80, respectively, for the same parking zones.”
Auburn students technically still pay an extra fee to park.
Director of Parking and Transportation Mike Harris said Auburn parking permits are lower because they charge a transit fee to all students.
“The transit fee is $153 per student and is added to their tuition. This is in addition to the permit price charged,” Harris said. “If you include the transit fee in the AU parking rates, they go from $80/$180 to $380/$480. We pay for our transit system through our permit prices and do not charge a transit fee.”
Harris said the increase in parking permit prices is for a number of reasons. With attendance increasing each year, parking lots and garages must be constructed in order to keep up with the growing number.
“Garages cost much more to build than a surface parking lot,” Harris said.
A surface space costs around $5,000 per space while a garage space costs around $18,000 per space.
Currently the debt service of the two new parking garages is around $2.3 million annually. The annual transportation costs of the bus routes are around $1.6 million this year.
Changes to the buses routes will be introduced in the fall including new routes that will operate Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m..
“We’ll be rolling out a new campus loop route with two buses operating in a counterclockwise direction and two operating in a clockwise direction this fall,” Harris said. “They will be routes that will loop campus and provide a fast, easy, and convenient connection to all the main points around campus.”
Although some permits have increased, parking garage permits have decreased this year.
“We are offering a numbered reserved spaces to all faculty, staff and commuter students for $400 a year,” Director of Parking and Transportation Mike Harris said. “We hope this will help to fill the garage and in doing so it will open additional surface spaces on campus.”
Harris said last year this rate was $550.
In addition to the decrease in parking garage prices, the gates located at the entrance and exit of the garage will be removed to help decrease traffic congestion.
“We noticed last year that we had two issues with the garage,” Harris said. “One was it was very frustrating when trying to enter or exit during peak times. The other was that it was never fully utilized.”
“Seeing these two issues we decided to remove the gates altogether to make it easier to enter and exit and to reduce the price to create demand,” Harris said.
Harris said he understands anytime prices go up people are not happy.
“We also understand that if we do not keep up with parking demand by adding parking and maintaining our existing spaces while also providing transportation options people will not be happy,” Harris said. “This is why we try to maintain the lowest permit price we can while still offering additional parking and transit alternative.”