File Photo/ Nevada Sagebrush
A student climbs aboard a PackTRANSIT bus on Feb. 12, 2018. Increased parking permit prices will go towards funding the university shuttle system.

University of Nevada, Reno, president Marc Johnson has approved an increase in parking permit fees for the 2018-2019 academic year due to an anticipated parking shortage on campus and an inadequate budget to improve parking facilities and PackTransit.

According to five studies conducted annually by the university, there will only be 600 parking spots available by 2022. The university currently sells over 1,300 campus parking permits.

The budget for parking and transportation is self-sustaining through parking permit fees, parking ticket revenue and transportation passes. It does not receive state funding.

Most parking permits will see a 17 percent increase in price starting in August — however, some permits will increase even more. Yellow parking permits for the residence halls will increase by 37.5 percent and reserved silver permits will increase 43 percent. The increased price on these special permits is due to the low turnover on the parking spots throughout the day, thus bringing in less revenue.

The last time parking permit prices increased was in 2011, after the university made a commitment to not increase prices during the Great Recession. However, more increases could be on the horizon over the next few school years. According to the Parking Permit Fee Increase website, the Office of Parking and Transportation will review the annual cost every spring and increase the price if necessary.

The money made by the university during this increase will be used to fund the construction of a 750 to 1,000 space parking garage on the south end of campus by 2020, and to help fund the PackTransit buses on campus.

“The department’s budget is no longer adequate to fund new construction and the existing maintenance needed of parking lots, University roadways and garages,” Johnson said in a statement. “Over time, multi-year deferment of necessary maintenance obligations could result in a costly backlog as well as poor quality facilities. It is also important to note that the University shuttle service, PACKTransit, receives significant financial subsidies from parking operations to operate the bus services.”

The new parking garage will be on the south end of campus in the university’s Gateway District. There is a demand for parking on the south end of campus because the majority of parking is available on the north end, making it difficult for people who commute to the university to attend classes on that side of campus.

Funds will also provide more money to PackTransit — the university’s shuttle service — which is currently half a million dollars in debt. In addition to these extra funds to help with budget difficulties, PackTransit will be cutting down their services. Starting next academic year, the shuttles will only be operating with one transit loop from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Their services will also not be provided during summer and winter breaks.

The Office of Parking and Transportation is also currently working with ASUN and the Graduate Student Association to receive funding for a second loop and expand their hours of service.

“Like many other four-year institutions of higher education, parking is often viewed as an issue both for its cost and availability. It is our goal to bring parking and transportation expenses in line with revenue, while also providing students, faculty, staff and visitors to the University different parking and transportation options.”

For more information on the price increase and projects, visit the Parking Permit Fee Increase website.

Madeline Purdue can be reached at mpurdue@sagebrush.unr.edu and on Twitter @madelinepurdue.