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Examining the first five years of CampusParc with Ohio State

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Source: Ohio State data. Credit: Lee Mccrory | Assistant Design Editor

Source: Ohio State data. Credit: Eileen McClory | Assistant Design Editor

When Ohio State and CampusParc struck a blockbuster deal to privatize parking operations, the private investment company agreed to terms setting the percentage it could increase prices and fines each academic year.

Pricing data released by the university show in each of the last five years the company regularly met, or in some instances exceeded, the 5.5 percent annual increase initially agreed to in the contract signed five years ago.

The most expensive student pass, CG, went on sale in July for $858.48 for a year-long pass. Last year the same pass was $813.52, and in 2012 it cost $693.

According to documents detailing parking pricing for each year since the 2012-13 school year — when CampusParc was awarded access to OSU’s parking in a $483 million, 50-year deal — prices have increased each year in almost every category available to students, faculty and staff.

The only variation to this was between the 2013-14 and 2014-15 academic year, when one pass, the West Campus E pass stayed the same, at $299.52.

Parking passes are not the only areas where CampusParc has increased prices — rates for parking violation fines and garage use have also increased over the five-year period, according to the documents.

The terms of the contract with CampusParc, owned by Australian investment firm QIC, set price increases at 5.5 percent, per year, for the first 10 years. After 10 years, prices are set at either a 4 percent or a rolling five-year average of inflation, whichever is greater.

Examining parking prices, fines, garage prices and lot prices, garage prices are the only area where there have been increases above the set 5.5 percent. Any proposed changes outside that amount require university approval, Dan Hedman, spokesman for OSU’s Office of Administration and Planning, said in an email.

Increases in garage rates tallied between 5.9 and 8.7 percent except for the rate for the first 30 minutes.

David Hoover, communications director for CampusParc, said in an email that it was “very unlikely” parking-pass rates would not increase to the 5.5-percent level every year, but also emphasized that it was a measure considered when making the deal. He pointed out the $23.6 million already invested in maintenance and improvement for lots and garages.

While price increases are essentially guaranteed, they are also constant from year-to-year — which OSU argues is a benefit.

Between 2004 and 2013, students would have been better off under the university-managed system, OSU data shows. Rates were raised 5 percent each year between 2004 and 2009, 3 percent in 2010, and 5 percent each year again between 2011 and 2013.

But before that, however, from 1999 to 2003, prices fluctuated much less predictably, and at much higher rates. 1999 saw a 25 percent increase, for example, and prices increased each year at rates between nine and 20 percent.

Hedman said the agreement allows permit rates to increase annually under university-set caps.

“These caps are lower than the historical trend,” he said.

Hedman also pointed out that the average compound rate of increases for the years under the university-managed system was 7.5 percent, and prices fluctuated based on operations and project costs for the parking system.

Parking passes

But what does a 5.5 percent increase mean in dollars?

The biggest increase is seen in the departmental reserved parking space, which has gone up more than $300 since 2012, and almost $100 since last year. For sale this year for $1,873, it cost $1,512 during Campus Parc’s first year on campus.

The faculty A pass — the most expensive of the 17 passes available to faculty, staff and students, which vary in how close to campus they are and whether or not they’re in a lot or a garage — went on sale in July for $936.48 for the year. That compares to $887.76 last year, and $756 in 2012.

Data from 1999 to 2011 did not break down parking pass prices individually.

Range of parking price passes over the years

Prices do not tell the whole story, however — new parking passes have been created as well. A Lantern story from 2014 detailed the creation of a new faculty pass being created, by an agreement between the university and CampusParc, called the WAE.

According to the story, faculty and administrative personnel who bought the WA permit in 2013 — which allowed West Campus surface-lot access and limited garage access — had to buy the WAE if they wanted to keep the limited garage access, but at a price increase of 50 percent.

A WA pass cost $207 at the time, and currently goes for $243. But a WAE pass cost $315.96 at its introduction, and currently fetches $351.48. A pass covering those same privileges in 2012 cost $196.20.

Source: Ohio State data. Credit: Lee Mccrory | Assistant Design Editor

Source: Ohio State data. Credit: Lee McClory | Assistant Design Editor

Fines

Parking passes are not the only increase. Every fine associated with parking infractions has increased at or near 5.5 percent since CampusParc took over parking operations as well. The university data from 1999 to 2013, which represented parking pass prices, did not include fines, garage access or surface lots.

The largest fine of the 19 listed, illegally parking in a wheelchair accessible parking space was $250 in 2012 — now the fine is $309.75. “Unauthorized use of a Parking Permit” also clocks in at $309.75, originally $250, and “Impound – Refusal to Obey Officer’s Directions” is listed at $223, originally $180.

Correction, 8/25: An earlier version of this story misspelled David Hoover’s name.

9 comments

  1. David Hoover, not Dan Hoover – check your previous stories. Also, CampusParc is one word, not two as your graphic shows. Plus you may also want to note that 100% of the money from parking fines funds goes to fund CABS. This can be found in the contact with OSU

  2. Buckeye in the West

    QIC is in the business to make money; period. While rate increases varied when OSU handled parking, they were not doing it for profit. They do not have stock holders to please. All Transportation and Parking Services had to do was try to break even.

    Since CampusParc it is tantamount to trying to park in a downtown parking garage. While there is “limitations” on increasing fees and fines; they are raising them under the radar. All to the happiness of their investors.

    For people who are infrequent visitors to Ohio Sate, and have been contributors to the university, getting a pass is no longer an option. The main reason, it you live out of state, and buy a pass, it has to be tied to your car license plate, on file. Thus, using a rental car is not an option. So, you have to pay full price fro visitor parking. Unless you call CampusParc and tell them you are bringing a rental car on campus. This is applicable to anyone with a parking pass.

    Oh, if you do not want to call, or can’t if you don’t have a phone with you, you can drive over to Bevis Hall, pay fro visitor parking, stand on line to tell them you are bringing a rental car on campus. If you try to chance not paying fro visitor parking, you will get a fine for not having a registered car on campus.

    CampusParc has made enforcement much more intense, then when OSU did it on its own. You dare not try to park anywhere, even when parking is supposed to be not enforced, without risking a ticket.

    OSU made a devil’s deal here. Eventually, the costs will be so high that CampusParc will collapse under their own fee structure.

    Finally, it is mentioned QIC is based in Australia. In Sydney and Melbourne they have a bus, train, and light rail system that expands from the central city to their suburbs. Columbus just has COTA, which is designed for one purpose; get people down town. Thus, unlike Sydney or Melbourne, you have to drive to Ohio State, if you don’t live near the campus. This aspect is also contributing to near price gouging; QIC is well aware of limited transport options that exist in Columbus.

  3. The fact that they have visitor “pay to park” machines in permit lots is ridiculous. We pay for a permit that supposedly provides the ability to find a spot and then visitors can pay to park in those same lots? Visitors or non-permit holders should be the ones parking remotely and taking a bus, not those of us who are here every day!! It’s like double dipping for CampusParc!

    • Yeah, I find that amusing too.

      Last year, there were 3 to 4 OSU Vans that were chartering staff during events (I believe this was during the basketball season). They parked in the A/B surface lot by my office. CampusParc’s reason for them taking up this space was (and this is directly from their email to me): “The vehicles you referenced are vehicles rented by CampusParc to transport large numbers of staff during major events. They are too tall to fit in Gateway Garage and there is no other location to accommodate them within reasonable proximity of the Gateway complex.” There is a “C” lot, which is MUCH larger, 1/2 a block away from the A/B lot. The A/B lot holds maybe 50 cars (most of them used by A parking permit holders). The C lots in that 1/2 a block range holds hundreds. I’m sure these “staff” were the same “staff” that make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. And I guess those “staff” can’t walk a half a block to go to the Campus Gateway. But, I can pay $40.27 a month to MAYBE find a spot near my office so that I don’t have to walk BLOCKS away. SMH.

  4. I didn’t mind paying for an A pass when I had access to garages, but now that I am at Ackerman and pay for an A pass to park on a surface lot I think it’s ridiculous. The design of the building and many access points does not really create that many “close” spaces. There are B spaces that are closer than A spaces. Of course you can park across the street with a CX, but with the new building, those spaces are moving further away. I don’t think I should have to pay the same amount as someone who can park in a garage.

  5. Proof Your Own Writing

    Remy……….. If you’re going to point out their mistakes, you should proof your own writing first. “money from parking fines funds goes to fund CABS. This can be found in the contact (contract) with OSU.” You don’t do so good yourself.

  6. Disgusted by the OSU Administration

    Though we should welcome any Lantern report on the parking deal, especially one that actually checks up on how poorly OSU is faring, this article would have been more informative if it had included two additional things. First, for each permit type mentioned, what has been the average annual increase in the past 4 years? For faculty (A) permits, it is easy to compute from the reported figures that the annual increase has been almost exactly 5.5%. This might be because faculty would quickly have noticed anything above 5.5% and some of them would have raised hell about it (as they should). Second, for passes that have increased at a rate above 5.5% (e.g., “Increases in garage rates tallied between 5.9 and 8.7 percent except for the rate for the first 30 minutes.”), perhaps the Lantern could interview whoever gave the required “university approval” for increases above 5.5% and ask them to explain why they approved it. Maybe OSU CFO Geoff Chatas, who momentarily left OSU last year to take a position at QIC only to find the grass greener at OSU about a day later, and who received a huge bonus for returning?

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