The number of parking spaces may be shrinking, but the prices are going up.
Baylor parking permit fees have risen in the past years, even though Baylor has recently eliminated 100 parking spaces due to the construction along Third Street. Students must now pay $300 for a parking permit for the 2012-2013 year, a 22 percent increase from the $245 permit of the previous year.
Matt Penney, director of parking and transportation services at Baylor, said the law of supply and demand affects the cost of every permit.
Because the demand for on campus parking permits is high, the cost has increased. All parking and transportation fees go into the university’s general fund.
Penney said a parking consultant from the Consulting Engineer’s Group, Inc. came to Baylor in 2008 and said the average permit prices at Baylor were lower than other schools.
Prices for Baylor permits had not increased from 2001 to 2008. The consultant said the prices should have increased during that time period because the cost of living has increased, and Baylor’s permit fees should have risen in accordance with other schools. Since that time, Penney said, parking permit prices have risen each year to match the increases.
Some students at Baylor are unhappy with the recent increase in parking permit costs.
“I thought the price was kind of high,” Austin sophomore Morgan Jenkins said. “You’re lucky if you can park somewhere close to where you need to be.”
St. Louis junior Damian Lane said he hasn’t purchased a parking permit because they cost more than he is willing to pay. He said he uses the Baylor University Shuttle services or rides with his roommate to school.
“We always have trouble finding parking, even with a permit,” Lane said. “For that price, the parking still isn’t that good.”
Others expressed contentment despite the increase. Robinson senior Joey Vasser said he believed the parking permit fee is fair.
Vasser has purchased an on campus permit for the past three years. “It’s a good price,” Vasser said. “It’s still cheaper than other schools.”
Despite his comfort with the fee increase, Vasser said he wished there were more parking lots available for students.
Jenkins, Lane and Vasser each said they believe the current parking spaces are not convenient for students, and finding a space is difficult. In addition to the increased fees, several parking spaces have been eliminated due to construction.
Penney said about 100 spaces have been removed due to the modification of Third Street, but more spaces were added to the Dutton Parking Garage to offset the missing spaces.
In addition, Penney said the Parking and Transportation Access Committee established tiered parking options for students two years ago.
The East Campus Garage option became available last year.These options include parking-specific permits for students.
The available permits include parking at the Ferrell Center for $150, the East Campus Garage for $200 and the $300 on-campus permit.
“Different people value different things,” Penney wrote in an email to the Lariat. “Some people value convenience and are willing to pay a little bit more for the option to park closer to class. Others are far more interested in saving a few dollars and are willing to park a little further out.”
Penney explained the purpose of the tier system for parking permits.
“One of the purposes of these tiers was to encourage use of historically underutilized student parking areas,” Penney wrote. “One specific area in mind was the East Campus parking garage, located one block east of the Baylor Sciences Building on Second Street.”
Penney said out of 1,200 parking spaces available in the East Campus Garage, only about 200 permits were sold. The East Campus Garage permit is 33 percent cheaper than the on-campus permit.
Other options are available to students who do not wish to purchase a parking permit. Bike racks have also been added near the East Campus garage.
Baylor University Shuttle continues to offer service to campus every seven minutes. Service is available from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
There are three different routes: the Blue, Gold, and Red. Detailed route information can be found at www.baylor.edu/parking/. For students who commute to campus, temporary parking permits are also available.
The permits benefit students who do not park on campus on a regular basis, but would like the option occasionally. The temporary passes are $1 to park in the East Campus Garage and $7 to park on campus.
Penney said the temporary permits would be too costly for the everyday parker.