This article has been updated to clarify that a 6 percent increase in parking permits was only a suggestion and the exact increase is undecided. In addition, PaTS will be adding a discount remote permit for North Deck in the fall 2018. 

Photo by Chimena Ihebuzor.

The Board of Trustees heard a conceptual plan at their April meeting to raise parking permit costs by 6 percent in the next year or two.

A 6 percent change in parking permits would bring resident permits from $450 to $477, a $27 dollar increase per resident. The exact increase is undecided.

Beth Hardin, vice chancellor for business affairs, spoke on the proposed increase explaining why it is necessary for the university.

“The cost of parking has not gone up in four years,” Hardin told Niner Times in an email. “During that time, operating and administrative costs have continued to rise. Additionally, in 2017-2018, PaTS committed more than $24 million to provide additional services for customers, including the expansion of Union Deck and Lot Eight and parking and permit management hardware and software. These funds came from reserves that must be replenished.”

Hardin added, “There are times when the administration must make fiscally necessary decisions — even if the decision is likely to be unpopular. This is one of those times. We are, however, mindful of costs to our students and employees, which is why we have not raised permit prices in four years and plan only a modest increase this year.”

According to Hardin, there has not been a decision on the exact parking increase for fall 2018.

“We are evaluating several scenarios and will share more information with campus when a decision is made,” she said.

UNC Charlotte has the second most expensive resident parking passes in the UNC System, only surpassed by UNC Chapel Hill which offers reserved spaces to students for a higher price, a service UNC Charlotte does not offer. Residents at UNC Charlotte currently pay $450 while residents at NC State pay anywhere between $275 and $370. Residents at Appalachian State University pay $240 and residents at East Carolina University pay $404.

UNC Charlotte charges students more than any of the other UNC System schools for summer session parking passes.

The newly-elected student body president and board of trustees member, Niayai Lavine, addressed student representatives about the change April 19 during the Student Government Association (SGA) Thursday Senate meeting. Lavine told student representatives about the increase, which has received some opposition.

Sahithi Meduri, the sophomore class president is one of the student representatives who is against the price hike. She says, “it’s unacceptable and not fair that students express their concerns and no one listens.”

Meduri added, “I do not support the parking permit increase due to several reasons. One main reason being that students are not able to afford the current price as is. The second reason being that the student government has spoken to PaTS regarding students concerns of this increase, but they did not take any of our concerns into consideration.”

Camille Reynolds, the chair of the SGA’s Student Affairs Committee, also voiced her disdain for the university administration.

“I do not under any circumstances support a parking permit increase,” commented Reynolds. “Our permits are expensive enough as it is. Why should we have to pay more for our parking rights for the school being in debt? How is that our fault? The smallest increase makes a difference.”

Kristine Slade, the senior class president, took a position against the university in a statement, saying:

“As a first-generation college student relying on scholarships and financial aid, kicking out $450 each year has taken away money that could be spent on other academic resources. When comparing UNC Charlotte parking costs to other universities and institutions, our parking costs are significantly higher. By raising the price even more than what it is, it would only add an additional stress to students.”

PaTS plans to add a discount remote permit for North Deck for commuters beginning in fall 2018.

Jacob is the Assistant News Editor for the NinerTimes, as well as involved in the Student Government Association at UNC Charlotte.