Parking around the UT campus when classes are in session is never easy, but it's also going to get more expensive soon. Parking rates are set to go up on the UT Austin campus, and it's an increase that will continue for several years. Outgoing President Bill Powers asked a committee of faculty and administrators to look into how to get more money for the university out of parking, and not surprisingly, the answer was higher fees.
The increases vary based on which permit you get, but it is an increase across the board. Let's say you have an "F Garage" permit, which currently costs $420 a year. Five years from now, that same permit will cost $588. A "C" permit, for students parking in surface level lots, which is currently $120, will go up roughly $6 a year over the next five years, up to $150.
"I always say you can never use 'free' and 'parking' in the same sentence, cause someone's paying for it somewhere along the line," says Bob Harkins, Associate VP for Campus Safety and Security and Chair of the UT Parking Strategies committee. "What we've tried to do here is make sure that the people that are parking on campus are the ones that are paying."
Parking permit fees haven't gone up all that much at UT over the last decade, Harkins says, and UT parking rates are below the median price of similar institutions in the state. "We think this brings us a little more in line with other institutions but doesn't create a tremendous burden on staff, faculty and students," he says. The committee also recommended that UT not privatize its parking.
The parking permit increases will continue for the next five years, with the potential for them to continue for another five years after that. If the higher prices are too much for you, Harkins says there are other options.
"There's a lot of people that say, 'I don't want to pay to park on campus,'" he says, "My response for fifteen years has been: 'There's a free bus system, there's a free shuttle system for you to ride to campus if you don't want to pay. But if you want to drive to campus, then you're going to pay to park.'"