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Transit options and reducing cars on campus

  • 1.  Transit options and reducing cars on campus

    Posted 03-22-2019 09:25
    Our student government is funding a Metro Transit pass for undergraduate students - wondering if others have had opportunity to implement such a program and then leveraged it in some way to reduce the number of students bringing cars to campus. We have limited parking, a commitment to our urban location, supporting transit options, and being as carbon-neutral as possible.

    --

    Ann Garvey
    Vice President of Student Affairs
    Title IX Coordinator
    Augsburg University
    2211 Riverside Avenue
    Minneapolis, MN 55454
    garvey@augsburg.edu
    phone: 612-330-1168
    fax: 612-330-1350
    WE ARE CALLED | AUGGIES


  • 2.  RE: Transit options and reducing cars on campus

    Posted 03-25-2019 16:46

    Our campus is working on a similar commuter rail program for students.  Still working out all the details but we will be making the program one of our TDM initiatives by tying the commuter rail pass to the purchase of a parking pass.  If you forgo purchasing a parking pass you are eligible to participate in the commuter rail program.  We are hopeful this will reduce the number of single occupancy vehicles on campus. 

     

    Tom

     

    University of Massachusetts Lowell

    Thomas Miliano

    Senior Director

    ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES

    E: Thomas_Miliano@uml.edu    

    T: 978-934-2605    F: 978-934-4018   

    220 Pawtucket Street, Suite 140, Lowell, MA 01854-5137

     

     






  • 3.  RE: Transit options and reducing cars on campus

    Posted 03-26-2019 10:31
    Thomas - thank you. we will look at this pairing/option.

    --

    Ann Garvey
    Vice President of Student Affairs
    Title IX Coordinator
    Augsburg University
    2211 Riverside Avenue
    Minneapolis, MN 55454
    garvey@augsburg.edu
    phone: 612-330-1168
    fax: 612-330-1350
    WE ARE CALLED | AUGGIES





  • 4.  RE: Transit options and reducing cars on campus

    Posted 03-28-2019 09:37

    At Penn State University, we offer a reduced-fare bus pass (RIDEpass) to full-time faculty and staff and off-campus graduate students, with a requirement that participants may not have a daytime parking permit (they can purchase an evening/weekend parking permit for just $6 per month). The cost of RIDEpass is currently $15 per month, but due to continually rising operating costs, the fee will rise to $21 per month for the 19-20 academic year. Even with the increase, the fee is still significantly less than the $79 per month fee for bus passes purchased directly from CATA, the community transit operator. But, because this fee will be more than double the fee for our cheapest daytime-access parking permit, the financial incentive to participate in the program for those who own a car has been diminished. Over time, our goal is to realign these prices to once again create a financial incentive to choose a bus pass over a parking permit.

     

    Originally called "Ride for Five", for many years the program was only open to full-time faculty and staff and the cost was just $5 per month. Transportation Services covered the remaining cost of the monthly pass for each participant (roughly $40-50 per month per person). The goals of the program were to reduce the number of vehicles on campus during daytime hours, encourage the use of mass transit and support the University's sustainability goals. The program had fairly stable participation of between 900 and 1,000 employees. However, because the pass was so inexpensive, many participants who walked, biked or carpooled without their own parking permit would purchase the pass just to have it when needed, though we were still covering the same amount for each participant no matter how often they rode the bus. After many years of lobbying by graduate students for access to the program, it was expanded to include them in 2015, but the demand was so high that to cover the cost of the program that year we had to cap the number of grad student participants through a lottery system, which was extremely unpopular. To maintain the financial solvency of the program going forward and to avoid the need to cap participation, the following year we made sweeping changes to the program, which included:

     

    • Increase of the fee from $5 per month to $15 per month
    • Change in the pay structure for Transportation Services – we now pay per ride rather than a set fee per pass each month
    • Prohibited participation by those who live at an apartment complex that offers a bus pass as part of their lease (most of the larger student complexes in the area do this)
    • Required participants to live at least 0.75 miles from the nearest Loop or Link stop, CATA's no-fare campus/downtown bus service (exceptions to this restriction are made for those with a disability or medical concern)

     

    These changes were designed to filter participation to those who most need the pass, but in doing so, we've seen a change in usage of the program. Faculty/staff membership has dropped to between 500 and 600 participants, while roughly 1,500 to 1,600 graduate students participate. What started as a program aimed at reducing the number of employee vehicles on campus has evolved into a program that now primarily serves as transit subsidization for graduate students, many of whom would purchase the full-price bus pass from CATA if our program didn't exist. While it's certainly a very positive outcome to be providing low-cost transportation for those with financial hardships, the impact the program is currently having on reducing the number of vehicles parking on campus is debatable, as permit sales and parking demand continue to rise.

     

     

    Jason Thomas

    Special Projects Coordinator

    Transportation Services

    The Pennsylvania State University

    19 Fleet Operations

    University Park, PA 16802

    814-867-5379

    www.transportation.psu.edu

     

     

    Penn State University

     

     

     

     






  • 5.  RE: Transit options and reducing cars on campus

    Posted 03-28-2019 09:46
    Jason,
    thanks for the information - what a great concept and program, adaptations, etc.   We may end up similarly - trying to move the needle on employee parking is going to be tough, even if we improve support for students to use transit options.

    Will share and use as much as we can from the lessons you learned and shared.

    --

    Ann Garvey
    Vice President of Student Affairs
    Title IX Coordinator
    Augsburg University
    2211 Riverside Avenue
    Minneapolis, MN 55454
    garvey@augsburg.edu
    phone: 612-330-1168
    fax: 612-330-1350
    WE ARE CALLED | AUGGIES





  • 6.  RE: Transit options and reducing cars on campus

    Posted 03-28-2019 13:33
    At the University of Houston, our COAST program (Cougars on Alternative and Sustainable Transportation) currently offers mass transit, carpool, and vanpool incentives to reduce parking demand. For students, faculty, and staff who forgo their option to purchase a parking permit, we pay them a monthly subsidy for use on the public transit system.  Students are already eligible for a 50% discount from the transit agency itself, so our added subsidy essentially reduces their commute costs to zero, assuming they are making two transit trips daily, five days a week. For faculty and staff, the subsidy is 50% of their transit fare for local routes, and 25% if they are coming from the outlying park & rides in the suburbs.  We are about to start a similar subsidy program for participants in the regional vanpool program, which is run by the mass transit agency. We will give full-time vanpool riders a monthly subsidy of $27.50 toward their vanpool costs in exchange for not purchasing a parking permit.

    For carpoolers, we allow carpools with 3 members to purchase a parking permit for 50% off, and carpools with 4 or more members to purchase a parking permit for 75% off.

    We are also on the cusp of starting a new incentive with Zipcar, who have been on campus since 2014. Starting with our new contract in June, we will give Zipcar members the option to sign up to receive annual driving credits, paid for by Parking & Transportation, in exchange for not purchasing a parking permit. They will have the option to receive either $300 in Zipcar credits, or $120 in Zipcar credits combined with $180 in METRO fare credits.

    I am also currently in talks with Uber and Lyft to try to set up a similar annual credit subsidy program with one or both of them.

    Finally, we released an RFP in March to secure a vendor for a ride matching platform (mobile app). I'm hopeful that having that app in place will make it easier for folks on campus to find carpool/vanpool partners, transit buddies, etc.

    We currently have about 4,100 people in the program, which is 3,660 students and 430 faculty/staff.

    ------------------------------
    Yvonne Fedee
    University of Houston
    Assistant Director, Parking and Transportation Services
    Houston TX
    United States
    ------------------------------



  • 7.  RE: Transit options and reducing cars on campus

    Posted 03-29-2019 10:04
    Thanks Yvonne - much appreciated.
    some other ideas we had not thought of....

    --

    Ann Garvey
    Vice President of Student Affairs
    Title IX Coordinator
    Augsburg University
    2211 Riverside Avenue
    Minneapolis, MN 55454
    garvey@augsburg.edu
    phone: 612-330-1168
    fax: 612-330-1350
    WE ARE CALLED | AUGGIES