Some Parking Rates, TAP Fees
to Increase; Bus Service Expands
By Vic Cox
Under a unanimous recommendation from the advisory UCSB Ratepayer Board, the fee for monthly night and weekend parking permits would rise $2, from $10 to $12, and the 22 Parking structure would be open to rent 25 spaces to private vehicles, at least initially, for an as-yet undetermined fee. This new proposal was sent to Chancellor Henry Yang prior to commencement; he had already agreed to raise daily night and weekend parking fees by $1 to a total of $3, as of July 1.
Undecided at the moment was a proposal to increase general parking permits by $3 over two years, which would boost costs from the current $36 a month to $39. The last such increase was in November 2005, when fees went from $35 to $36.
Meanwhile, members of the Transportation Alternatives Program have recently been notified of financial changes in the bus and CarShare elements of the program. Some of the CarShare details are still to be negotiated with an outside vendor, but the redesigned UCSB-MTD bus pass program is scheduled to begin on July 1, according to a memo from James Wagner, TAP director.
As of that date, the limited free rides will cease. However, bus pass subsidies for UCSB faculty and staff who do not have individual campus parking permits—a carpool permit is acceptable—will discount rides substantially while significantly expanding access to the MTD system.
Under the former system, employees on payroll could receive free passes good for one roundtrip ride each work day to a UCSB work site, if they had given up their parking permits and were TAP members. That system was costing TAP a budget-busting $120,000 a year. Starting July 1, MTD 30-day unlimited-use bus passes will be available to TAP members at discounted rates.
Essentially, TAP members gain flexible access to the MTD system for around half of what other riders are paying for the same service (the Santa Ynez Valley Express has a smaller discount). It could cost employees less if they use the pre-tax payroll deduction to pay for passes, Wagner notes.
His memo offers the following examples of prices for the MTD 30-day unlimited-use bus passes: adults, $20 a month ($21 savings); people on Medicare, or with a disability, or age 62 and over, $9 a month ($9 savings). TAP members who ride the Valley Express can expect to pay $99 a month instead of $120.
The re-shaped CarShare program, with two, vendor-supplied hybrid vehicles, would have an hourly charge for the first time, but it would be open to all employees and students, age 18 and up, with clean driving records. Terms may be finalized soon, says Wagner.
Subsidized vanpool riders will also see their share of the costs increase as, due to safety concerns, 14-passenger vans are discontinued in favor of smaller vans.