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The Daily Tar Heel

Nearly $30 transit fee hike proposed

Parking on campus could become even more expensive next year.

The Department of Public Safety proposed a $28.41 fee increase for parking and transportation on Friday to the student fee advisory subcommittee.

The student transportation fee, which funds services including Safe Ride, P2P and Chapel Hill Transit, is currently $145.74.

DPS representatives Wilhelmina Steen and Cheryl Stout said at the meeting that the changes would include a $17.50 increase for Chapel Hill Transit and a new $10.40 charge for nighttime parking.

The past few years of increases to the fee are part of DPS’s five-year plan, which originally intended to raise the fee by $14 each year.

The nighttime parking fee is meant to cover costs associated with the currently free system where students can park anywhere on campus after 5 p.m.

DPS previously offered the option to have students pay for a $227 annual nighttime parking permit, but ultimately student representatives opted to incorporate it into the transportation fee.

Steen said people parking at night for free are receiving the benefits of the system without contributing to it.

“There are two groups historically who have not contributed to the (transportation and parking) system: park-and-riders and nighttime parkers,” Steen said. “There was a park and ride fee that was initiated this year and a nighttime parking fee that will be instituted next year.”

But the proposal to raise parking fees was met with resistance from subcommittee members, who delayed deciding on the increase until it receives more information from DPS on the funding structure of Chapel Hill Transit.

Student Body President Christy Lambden said he recognized the need for additional parking funds but was frustrated with the lack of other transportation options available to students.

“There isn’t available parking for students on-campus currently,” Lambden said. “Students are given no other options other than the buses.”

The construction and maintenance of parking decks around campus has added significantly to the debt that DPS must handle, Stout said.

But Lambden said a majority of this available parking is not going to provide many additional student spots and instead spaces are given to University faculty.

Faculty members pay for a permit for an entire year and are guaranteed a spot in nighttime lots. Students, however, are being charged without any guarantee of available spaces.

“I see students taking on more of the burden of the system without getting any of the additional benefits,” Lambden said.

Stout said that employees view parking as a right, and not a privilege, and therefore should have a space.

“It’s not that students don’t contribute to the system,” she said.

“They do — it’s just the system must be looked at differently due to the expenses of our new parking operations.”

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