Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Economics of Parking Policy: Pay Me not To Park

There is an old saying that it is the job of the college president to make sure the students can have sex, the faculty can park, and the alumni have a winning football team. Let’s look at faculty parking. Today I got a news story about Towson’s new program to give a 50% discount on parking passes to hybrid drivers. I’m probably going to purchase a new used car within the next year, the saving of $350 a year makes a hybrid a lot more attractive of a purchase.

If you just did some quick math you realized I pay $700 a year for parking at Towson. Not all faculty pay this rate as it is in part determined by income, but I would guess most pay at least $300-$400 a year. Interestingly I never realized until the reading the article that it was not me subsidizing the lower paid faculty members, but Towson who is subsidizing me less. From the article Pam Mooney the direct of parking states “To provide a parking space costs between $2,000 and $3,000 per year per person versus $200 to $300 if a person takes the bus instead of driving.” That means Towson is spending between $1300 and $2300 a year to provide me a parking space.

So here is what I propose as a solution. If you do not purchase a parking pass you get paid equivalent of the cost of your parking pass. Faculty could work out car pooling, biking, public transportation, hiring a car service on their own. If Towson pays me $700 extra dollars for not buying a parking pass, then it saves $600-$1600 in subsidies for parking.

Next year I plan on purchasing a house a large swing in the benefit of not parking on campus, could be just the incentive I need to make sure it is close enough to bike.
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