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Parking permits to cost $300 per year starting January 1996

The Academic Council yesterday endorsed an administration proposal to charge a fee of $300 a year for employee parking on campus, Senior Vice President William R. Dickson announced.

The new permits won't be issued until January 15, 1996 in order to get systems in place that will permit people to pay through payroll deduction. An MIT employee parking permit will cost $150 for the period of January-September 1996 and $300 a year beginning September 1996, Mr. Dickson said. Current parking permits will be valid until January 31, 1996.

In fiscal year 1996, the MIT cost of commuter parking- maintenance, plowing, security, amortization of capital improvements and administration-is expected to be approximately $400 a space.

In fiscal year 1994, parking cost $1,402,000 and brought in revenue of $199,000. In 1993, an Academic Council Task Force recommended that MIT consider charging a fee for parking as one way of helping to reduce the budget deficit. This would be intended to cover the costs of the parking system, rather than the nominal $20 fee which covers only the administrative cost of issuing the parking permit.

The bottom line is that the era of the virtually free parking space is coming to an end for MIT, as it did years ago at most other universities. Harvard has charged for parking for more than 15 years and the current Harvard faculty/staff fee is $320 a year ($275 for student commuters). Resident students and faculty and commuters parking in an assigned space pay $580. Day passes are $4 a day. At Boston University, a parking permit costs $600 a year.

Mr. Dickson, who noted that the parking fee is subject to negotiation with collective bargaining units, said, "Decisions will be guided by the recommendations contained in the Report of the Parking and Transportation Implementation Task Group." The group was formed last summer to evaluate and make recommendations on many issues, including the relative percentage of the fee that would be fair for drivers other than daytime commuters who do the majority of their work between 9am and 5pm.

The underlying principles established by the Task Group are that if a charge for parking is implemented to cover part of the parking cost, fees would be assessed for all users, and that payment of such parking fees would continue to be a personal expense for commuters and residents.

The fee is not expected to cover the entire cost, and MIT is committed to maintaining some of the costs of providing parking and transportation services as part of the employee benefit package. During the past several years, MIT has spent $1 million repairing and upgrading existing lots and facilities. The remaining permanent parking facilities are scheduled for similar renovations, and within the next decade, new parking facilities must be built to replace open lots where buildings will be erected.

The employee/faculty fee may be paid over a period of eight months via payroll deduction, or by a single initial payment. Student parking permits will be billed through the Bursar's Office.

On a full-year basis, the MIT fees will be as follows:

$300 for employees and faculty who work most of their hours between 9am and5pm (daytime hours).

$150 a year (50 percent of the regular fee) for daytime employees willing to park in a remote lot (to be determined) and willing to switch from the location their department has assigned them. (Federal regulations require that all employees pay the same amount for the same level of service, but a two-tiered system with different levels of service is permitted.)

$150 a year for registered student commuters, who will park at a student commuter lot on Vassar Street.

$75 a year (25 percent of the regular fee) for professors emeriti, who park only occasionally.

$2.50 a day for a day pass, limited to eight per month, for commuters who drive occasionally and who do not have annual permits or who share a car pool permit but occasionally can't use the carpool. Day passes will be available for a parking lot on the west end of campus and a portion of an east campus lot. The passes will not be transferable, but may be used by the purchaser at any time during the academic year.

Courtesy passes for invited guests, at the day pass rate, may be purchased by a department through a transfer of funds.

People who wish to form car pools will no longer require a permit from a departmental allocation. The members are to share a regular fee ($300) and each member who is an MIT employee may purchase day passes for occasional use when she or he can't use the carpool.

Reserved parking for a department vehicle should be charged at the average cost of a commuter parking space.

Yet to be determined is the percentage of the regular fee to be paid by shift workers who work the majority of their hours from 5pm to 9am.

Also to be determined are the residential parking fees for students, faculty and staff who live on campus. Residential permits are allocated on the basis of one permit to one 24-hour space. Residential parking is subject to different municipal regulations and will have fees which will vary from building to building because of different costs and service. These rates will be established by the Office of Housing and Food Services in consultation with the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Education and Student Affairs and the Committee on Parking and Transportation.

To help ensure that individuals don't abuse the commuter and residential system, parking fines will be doubled.

MIT is still considering subsidizing Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority transit passes, but no firm decision has been made yet.

For further details, a limited number of copies of the report is available from the MIT Planning Office, x8-5877 or e-mail .

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 3, 1995.

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