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Officials: Blaming CampusParc for Ohio State parking issues unfair

April 9, 2014

merriman.65@osu.edu
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It’s not hard to find anti-CampusParc rhetoric on the Internet or on campus, but CampusParc representatives said it’s all a matter of misperception.

David Teed, CEO of CampusParc, said the negative public perception of CampusParc is based on false assumptions about the terms of the concession agreement.

“One of the perceptions … is that CampusParc, or QIC, is a for-profit organization that is somehow going to be gouging the users of the OSU parking system, when neither are we that kind of an organization, nor do we have the rights to affect pricing at all,” Teed said.

CampusParc is a private company that manages parking services at Ohio State. The university agreed to a 50-year lease on its parking assets for the upfront price of $483 million. QIC Global Infrastructure, an Australian investment firm, placed the bid and created CampusParc to operate the parking facilities. The deal was finalized and approved by the Board of Trustees in June 2012.

The $483 million paid to OSU came from the pool of pension funds which QIC manages, so CampusParc’s monetary goal over the 50 years of the agreement is to make back that money, plus inflation, by 2062 in order to maintain those pensions, Teed said.

CampusParc President Sarah Blouch, who led OSU’s Parking & Transportation prior to the CampusParc agreement, said while CampusParc is responsible for maintaining and upgrading university assets, it will get the cash flow that comes from them in return, including the profits from the sale of parking passes and hourly parking fees.

The agreement caps the rate increase on parking at 5.5 percent annually for the first 10 years. After 10 years, rates are set to be capped at 4 percent or a rolling five-year average of inflation, whichever is greater.

“The university has always set the pricing, continues to set the pricing, and for the next 50 years will set the pricing,” Teed said.

Teed said CampusParc does not necessarily want price increases because it is riskier to charge more as a pension manager, but OSU figured price increases into the $483 million contract.

David Hoover, spokesman for CampusParc, said the annual price increases for parking permits were more sporadic before the concession agreement, as much as 10 percent.

“The benefit now is that the price is pre-established, so it’s not going to be a surprise year after year,” Hoover said.

Teed said the pricing of parking fines, which are handed out by CampusParc, is also specified in the agreement, though any money earned from fines goes to OSU.

“By excluding the revenue … we’re not going to be wrongly accused of trying to profit from writing citations,” Teed said.

Blouch said the net revenue from parking citations is passed on to the university after expenses are deducted.

Since there is no profit for CampusParc in enforcing fines, Hoover said issuing citations is a “necessary evil” because it keeps parking spaces open for those who paid for passes.

Andrew Smith, a third-year in operations management, said he received a $54 fine recently for using his purchased pass with a car that wasn’t registered to it.

“They swarm around in those cars that look like the ‘Jurassic Park’ jeeps, so if you’re out of place, they’ll get you,” Smith said.

Smith said he successfully appealed the fine for a reduction and only owed $6.

“I’d say (CampusParc employees are) annoying because they take their job so seriously, but (aren’t) unwilling to help you out if you need it,” Smith said.

Meghan Wood, a second-year in exploration, said CampusParc is overzealous in enforcing parking policy.

“Sometimes there are too many hoops to jump through and rules to abide by just to be able to park,” Wood said.

Teed said, though, CampusParc doesn’t control parking policy.

“The university controls parking policy, just as it always has,” Teed said.

Teed said misconceptions re-emerged when it was announced Buckeye Village’s parking would no longer be free, a decision which CampusParc did not control.

“(People) just assume that because parking is being privatized, the private company has control of these things,” Teed said.

Buckeye Village residents were told by OSU last month that parking passes would cost $150 for the 2014-15 academic year for lots that were previously free. This amount is lower than the $402 or $620 that had been talked about before residents protested the change. The decision, though, was made by the university.

Operations of the parking areas are actually managed by a contractor, LAZ Parking, whom CampusParc hired, Teed said.

“CampusParc is obligated to deliver a parking experience in accordance with OSU’s standards,” Teed said. “CampusParc contracts LAZ to deliver a parking experience on exactly the same terms. So, if LAZ isn’t performing, our job is to manage LAZ before the university manages us.”

LAZ did not respond to an email requesting comment.

Teed said CampusParc keeps track of customer satisfaction through surveys, though it’s careful not to ask questions about circumstances it isn’t responsible for, like the number of parking spaces centrally located on campus or traffic issues outside parking garages.

Hoover said, however, CampusParc is involved in a transportation study currently being conducted by OSU, so its input is being considered in the future regarding these problems.

“The benefit of having … operators who wake up every morning thinking about parking is that they … advocate for the realities of accessibility of parking lots,” Hoover said. “It’s evidence of that partnership that operators here are at the table and bringing some things that might otherwise not be considered because they deal with them every day and monitor those kinds of patterns.”

Interim OSU President Joseph Alutto said in a Sept. 23 interview with The Lantern construction on parking facilities had led some to blame CampusParc for inconveniences administered by OSU.

“We’ve heard people complaining that it’s more difficult to get parking. And of course they blame the new vendor, but the vendor had nothing to do with it,” he said. “These were decisions we (the university) made. Parking that needed to be taken out of commission to allow us to do, for example, mass construction equipment and will be returned to the university in terms of availability within the next year.”

The agreement between OSU and QIC is the first of its kind between a public university and a private company, Teed said, and the public perception of how it funds parking infrastructure improvements is still being smoothed out.

“When a pension fund talks about investing in a toll road (in the U.S.) it is seen as … a negative, rather than as a win-win as we see it in (Australia),” Teed said. “The (infrastructure) debate in America hasn’t caught up yet, so while America acknowledges daily … how the infrastructure sucks, the reality is that they haven’t completed the thinking on how to fund infrastructure yet.”


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  1. JustAPoorCivilServant says:

    “David Hoover, spokesman for CampusParc, said the annual price increases for parking permits were more sporadic before the concession agreement, as much as 10 percent.”

    what the heck is he talking about?!? my B hangtag went up an average of 4.65 percent each year since 2004:

    2004 $21.60
    2005 $22.70 = increase of 5.138%
    2006 $23.80 = increase of 4.845%
    2007 $25.00 = increase of 5.042%
    2008 $26.25 = increase of 5%
    2009 $27.50 = increase of 4.762%
    2010 $28.20 = increase of 2.55%
    2011 $29.60 = increase of 4.964%
    2012 $31.00 = increase of 4.73%
    2013 $32.50 = increase of 4.83%

    2014 $34.29 = increase of 5.5% (per agreement)

  2. JustAPoorCivilServant says:

    btw….our yearly pay increases were never anywhere NEAR 4%. bah

  3. The University received a cash infusion of nearly half a billion dollars and yet last year’s salary pool for staff was to average 2%? Obviously, the University greatly appreciates the staff that makes this place run day to day.

  4. Richard Meyer says:

    My perception is that the readers of the current parking cards operate much slower and with more difficulty and time delays than the hangtag machines that OSU used to use. Therefore there are more delays in exiting garages after major events. And there have been delays because an attendant had to activate the gate because the reader would not accept the card.

  5. Another University Staff says:

    Wasn’t this the plan all along? University rezones new parking areas, raises prices more than in the past, and can deflect complaints to Campus Parc. University is now free to use $483,000,000 in parking money however they see fit, prior it had to support transportation and parking only. Essentially, commuters are taxed to fund anything the university wants.

  6. Ohio State, Inc. says:

    Couple things about this article:

    #1) Ms. Blouch and Mr. Teed seem to be on different pages regarding the important issues mentioned in this article. There are subtle, yet important, differences in how they word their answers.

    #2) I hope that it doesn’t surprise users . . er faculty, students, and staff that the service they will receive will be, at best, a work-in-progress. From this article, an investment firm saw an opportunity to make $$ so they decided that they are now in the business of regulating parking at a major university.

    Maybe it’s not that difficult to run such a business, but one would hope/prefer that the university would have privatized to a business who had experience doing this job. Otherwise, you get what CampusParc did, which was to sub-contract to another company (LAZ) that knows what the hell they’re doing to do CampusParc’s job for them.

    Layers of private bureaucracy. This is better than OSU T&P? Yeah, yeah, dollars for O$U, I get it.

    #3) In general, people shouldn’t be surprised by the university’s motives, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be disappointed/disgusted/outraged.

  7. Anonymous says:

    University Staff says:

    The University received a cash infusion of nearly half a billion dollars and yet last year’s salary pool for staff was to average 2%? Obviously, the University greatly appreciates the staff that makes this place run day to day.

    No, all the money went towards faculty and students. The staff here don’t mean crap to anyone. A 2% raise (which most don’t get) equals out to about $7 dollars a week after taxes. Look at a faculty members raise and it comes out to hundreds or even thousands more a month (after taxes).

  8. Anonymous says:

    Actually, the 2% average is divided pretty evenly between faculty, A&P, and CCS. The aggregate for the 3 groups must be within .25% of one another. If they are off by more than that, your college’s increases are not accepted.

  9. TommyS says:

    It just seems so grossly irresponsible to sell 50 years of something (the right to operate the parking spaces) for a quick, one time infusion of cash. Honestly, how can our leaders sleep at night knowing they took the cash and gave away rights for the next two generations?

    I guess when you’re given a multi-million dollar salary and you don’t even feel the need to tone down your bigotry (e.g. the late Mr. Gee), your arrogance and selfishness know no bounds.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Anonymous says:

    Actually, the 2% average is divided pretty evenly between faculty, A&P, and CCS. The aggregate for the 3 groups must be within .25% of one another. If they are off by more than that, your college’s increases are not accepted.

    You don’t get it. The average salary for CCS and faculty/A&P are so much different that a 2% raise for a faculty or A&P member equates to much more money per month than the average CCS staff member. Net (not gross) pay increases of hundreds or thousands of dollars a month, compared to net (not gross) increases of $6 or $7 a week, is not “divided pretty evenly”.

    My increase was close to 2% last year. It netted (not gross) me $7.00 more a week (or $28 a month). I guarantee you the professors at my college received more then $28 a month in their raise. Mine barely gives me enough to make up for the raise in utilities/gas, OSU parking and benefits. Add in those increases, and I didn’t get a raise at all (and actually, the raise is gone plus some).

    Don’t tell me that raises are “divided pretty evenly”. You must be one of the people that have been brainwashed to believe that (or you’re one of them that sets the rates).

  11. Anonymous says:

    Oh, and, the profesors would LAUGH HISTERICALLY if they received $28 a month in their yearly raise. We have to accept it and be glad we even got that.

  12. Swfg says:

    @Richard Myers: I’ve been at this university for a long time. The time it takes the cards to be read at the entrances and exits of the garages hasn’t changed a bit. The only difference is the pay machine system is different in some garages and the credit card size keycards are just a different size.

    And is someone seriously complaining in the article that they take their jobs too seriously? What a foreign concept that is… taking a job that earns the university hundreds of thousands of dollars seriously.

    I don’t think Ohio State, Inc. knows what he’s talking about. QIC, the investment firm that has zero to do with parking, contracted LAZ to handle parking operations. CampusParc is just the name of the LAZ brand at OSU.

  13. Carmella says:

    LAZ is CampusParc.

  14. anon says:

    @TommyS

    It’s a one time infusion, but the university invested it and I believe they are taking out only as much as necessary so that they can maximize the return on the funds. It will be worth billions at the end of the 50 years.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I pay $34.xx for a “B” Pass to come to work. I have never worked somewhere where I have to pay to work there..lol. CampusParc and this agreement is insane!

  16. Anon says:

    The goal of a university is to educate students. That is what the professors do, you don’t. Therefore you should be happy with your 2% raise and just because you make less money doesn’t mean we should give you more just because. The professors have invested 8 or so years getting their PhDs and should be rewarded for their time. Should they quit and go somewhere to get a higher salary that hurts the University. Should you quit, we can find someone to replace the staff much quicker.

    In the end, be happy you have a job at a University that pays more than minimum wage.

    “Anonymous says:

    Actually, the 2% average is divided pretty evenly between faculty, A&P, and CCS. The aggregate for the 3 groups must be within .25% of one another. If they are off by more than that, your college’s increases are not accepted.

    You don’t get it. The average salary for CCS and faculty/A&P are so much different that a 2% raise for a faculty or A&P member equates to much more money per month than the average CCS staff member. Net (not gross) pay increases of hundreds or thousands of dollars a month, compared to net (not gross) increases of $6 or $7 a week, is not “divided pretty evenly”.

    My increase was close to 2% last year. It netted (not gross) me $7.00 more a week (or $28 a month). I guarantee you the professors at my college received more then $28 a month in their raise. Mine barely gives me enough to make up for the raise in utilities/gas, OSU parking and benefits. Add in those increases, and I didn’t get a raise at all (and actually, the raise is gone plus some).

    Don’t tell me that raises are “divided pretty evenly”. You must be one of the people that have been brainwashed to believe that (or you’re one of them that sets the rates).”

  17. david says:

    It’s interesting how CampusParc claims they don’t want price increases but they’ve been forced upon them by the agreement, but the agreement *caps* price increases. Last I checked a cap doesn’t mean you are required to increase prices all the way to the cap. So which is it? A cap or a requirement?

  18. Anonymous says:

    A lot of the stuff that goes on at CampusParc is dictated to them by the university. Example, no parking changes can be made in the medical center without the medical center OKing them and telling CampusParc EXACTLY how to do things. The University knows they have a situation on their hand with a rapidly growing population who are on campus at any given moment. By making CampusParc responsible for this is essentially shifting all the blame and bad press off the university administration and over to CampusParc with all the big shots sitting back counting their cash. Plus, do you really think the hospital is going to construct such a giant new building with a few thousand extra beds and tell all the people they are trying to attract to park in a remote lot and be bussed in? GOD NO! I hear all the nurses and med center staff complain all the time about this. Why would the university opt to inconvenience the patients and bow down to the staff? Don’t like it? Go work at Ohio Health. Deal with it…TIME AND CHANGE. CHANGE is happening now and if you don’t fall in line you might as well starting looking for a new job.

  19. Faith says:

    I think CampusParc is doing a great job. The garages look clean, equipment is operating as expected, and prices have not suddenly skyrocketed. At the beginning, there were issues with garage gates and that seems to have been resolved. From a business stance, I think this was a brilliant idea, one that will be of help to students and faculty and staff for generations to come.

  20. A. Nony Mous says:

    Sounds like you must work for CampusParc, Faith.

    The increase in permit prices per year, and the negligible raises that staff (A&P, CCS) receive (this year is a maximum of 2%, more likely 1%-1.5%), offset each other significantly. The maximum wage that a CCS employee can make at OSU after 15-20 years of working there pays out similar wages to an AVERAGE wage made by other CCS public sector jobs in the state. In other state agencies, a CCS starting wage is typically around $15-$17 per hour. OSU’s starting wages for CCS staff rank anywhere from minimum wage to just under $14/hour. OSU has a long tradition of paying a pittance to it’s staff and showering money and gifts on over-glorified football
    coaches and athletic directors-turned-vice presidents. Gene Smith gets a 12% raise for the new VP position while CCS staff get 2%. That’s real fair…

    The point is: the thousands of staff who make the university run day in and day out are being put in a bind. With a rising cost of living, increasing utility bills, higher gas prices, and CampusParc raising the permits at the peak level each year, that 2% raise quickly becomes more like a -5% cut in pay. Eventually it may cost more to go to work than it pays to actually work.

    Let’s not forget about the students too. The permit prices are hurting students as well… since students must pay all at once. That’s not terrible for a WC, but a student who lives in the dorms with a car? I don’t know many college students who have nearly $500 put away to blow all at once on a permit.

    Someone posted that if a CCS staff member didn’t like their job or raises that they should leave and someone else will be ready and waiting. More or less saying CCS staff are disposable. The people who work at OSU day and night work there because they have a sense of pride in the university. And, do you really think if a whole department chose to walk out on account of wages that the university would hire new people? No! They would simply just privatize that department and get another quick sum of cash. The money OSU got from the parking sale is long gone. Just look at what’s happened since CampusParc took over: completion of the South Oval geothermal wells, several million over budget, the 5th Ave dam removal and subsequent vegetation planting and geese dispersal projects, North Campus dorm construction, and who could forget the awful plan to demolish St. John Arena because some rich alumni is throwing cash for naming rights. And of course, Dr. Gee had a huge bonus at the end of last year, and the previously mentioned raise for Gene Smith. That $483 million was burned through like wildfire.

    Privatization never works in favor of the customer. The customer gets screwed. The business side rolls in tons of money. The university didn’t *have* to make money on parking. Yes they made some, but it wasn’t a necessity. CampusParc *must* make money or the Aussies pull out and leave them high and dry. There are certainly some novel ideas that CampusParc has implemented, but price gouging isn’t one of them.

  21. Blah Blah says:

    My comment is addressed to the avatar “Anon” regarding his/her comment–

    “Anon says:
    April 9, 2014 at 9:20 pm
    The goal of a university is to educate students. That is what the professors do, you don’t. Therefore you should be happy with your 2% raise and just because you make less money doesn’t mean we should give you more just because. The professors have invested 8 or so years getting their PhDs and should be rewarded for their time. Should they quit and go somewhere to get a higher salary that hurts the University. Should you quit, we can find someone to replace the staff much quicker.

    In the end, be happy you have a job at a University that pays more than minimum wage.”

    So, I’m a PhD student that is heading to a D1 research institute now that I have defended. YOUR COMMENT SICKENS ME. I have been that lowly GTA that has had to educate YOUR students (*for you!*) and in return I was treated like I meant nothing. I was, more specifically, treated like an interchangeable part you describe above by a lot of faculty (although, thankfully, not by my committee members).

    Did you, Anon, actually read over what you typed before posting it? It’s revolting. Sure, it took me a long time to get my PhD, but frankly it was those in support staff roles that did a lot of the heavy lifting to help me get through, as they allowed my committee members to focus on helping me with research rather than having manage HR regulations, grant compliance, departmental budgets, undergraduate student advising, course enrollment, and the rest of the administrative needs that have to be met by someone within that specialty.

    So how about you check your ego, doctor? The university is a system and all “parts” matter for its operation.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Last fall, it was not problem getting into the Lane Avenue garage, but we could not get out many times. Sometimes it would only take cash and other times it would only take a credit card. Has this problem been resolved?

  23. Anonymous says:

    They took a revenue stream of 28 million and found other places to fund about 19 million in debt and expense (bus), then gave the whole thing to an investment firm and agreed to perpetual increases tied to inflation for 50 years. The true cost of this is what you should worry about, not whether the cobwebs in the garages are getting swept up… do the math.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Fireworks will start when new cancer center opens in January 2015 and the two large 9 story parking garages (North Cannon and South Cannon) will be only for visitors and patients. The pit gets filled up by 9am, you should see how people litteraly hunt for parking spaces by following others around in their cars down there. This will affect professors, physicians, residents, nurses, students, etc. I dont’ know what they are thinking. Who would pay almost $70/month and not be able to park.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Complaining about B prices, sure you work for the university and should park for free but I pay outrageous sums of money to attend this college and then have to pay HUNDREDS for parking passes. They don’t even guarantee I can park with it. If I show up after 10am I have to stalk other students to their spot just to have a chance. I have also been given a ticket while parked in a valid zone. Then I get some b.s. excuse that they have a picture of me parked out of zone. This “evidence” is simply a picture of me in a parking spot, no signs to indicate where it’s at and they even managed to exclude the parking space number from the picture. It’s great to know that university cares about how it’s students are treated. Just sell rights to their lots to some random private company out to make it’s massive half a million dollars back. You can’t honestly tell me that this company can plan so well as to make exactly that amount back after 50 years accounting for inflation. You also can’t tell me that worst comes to worst, and they take a small hit. They are going to aim high and give bonuses when they make 600 mil instead of 483 mil.

    They also freely give up my paid for parking spots to people who also have to pay to park there whenever some “event” takes place. I paid for those spots. Then they want to charge me again or tell me to park elsewhere???

  26. Anonymous says:

    So, In theory, West Campus A permits, if you want the same access on your 2014-15 permit, as you had on your 2013-14 permit, the price increase is over 50%!!

    13-14 WA used to have off hours garage access ( After 4PM )
    14-15 WA does not have garage access. for off hours garage access is now a WAE, which is $100+ more.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Before it comes up, Having an A or WA pass does not make one a higher paid professor. Employees who are not CCS are required to get an A instead of B. We get the same salaries, and the same 2%

    I’m ok with the WA losing garage access, but it still increased 5.5%, and what did CampusParc say about… Well, you now don’t have to pay for access you won’t use. If that’s the case, drop the price a little bit.

  28. Anonymous says:

    If you don’t like the costs… Go to Columbus State…otherwise enjoy the quality education and parking…

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