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Issue 476, 4 February 2002

Letters

No easy solution to parking problems

Dr Harry Lewis
Pro-Vice-Chancellor

Daily and annual parking fees recover the cost of providing parking on campus. This is done: to avoid giving a perk to staff who travel by car as opposed to those who use public transport; to avoid staff incurring the payment of tax on what would effectively be a payment in kind if the University subsidised the cost of providing parking; and to allow the University's revenue to be committed to its core business. Most people who travel to work by car have to pay for parking, and rates at local multi-storey car parks or on meters in the city centre are much higher than University charges.

The management of parking is problematic, given that more staff wish to park than there are spaces available, and there is a need to welcome visitors by providing parking for them. Government policy is now to keep traffic away from city centres, and the local planning authority has refused the University permission to increase its number of parking spaces on campus. Demand for parking is not controllable nor is it easy to predict, so on some days, particular car parks such as Black Zone may not be fully occupied.

The present permit allocation system was devised several years ago in consultation with trade unions, and at that time all staff were invited to vote on criteria and points accrued hence the allocation of extra points for women. Parking on campus is not a right it is something people may request and, whilst in former years, staff could assume that parking would be available, increased demand means that this is no longer the case. The current parking policy could be argued to be unfair, but it is certainly not cynical or profiteering, nor is there an easy solution to the problems it attempts to manage.

The traffic policy review group (which I chair) has within its remit a review of current parking policy, and Mr Cuthbert's views will be brought to its attention.

Not yoga or massage but cheaper parking

Julia Nowosilyc
Language Centre

Reading the letter in Reporter 475 prompted me to write in and agree on most parts with the author, in particular the impossibly long wait for permits and the high cost of parking as a 'visitor'.

I feel that staff parking was an issue that was omitted from the recent questionnaire on staff welfare, and that if the University wishes to improve its employees' welfare then the parking policy could be reviewed. A member of staff without a permit paying 2.50 per day will pay approximately 600 over a year, which is quite a hefty chunk of salary especially for the lower paid (but equally hard working) members of staff.

Perhaps a distinction could be made between visitors and members of staff, with the latter paying a lower rate? Perhaps members of staff could pay less during times of the year when the car park is less full, i.e. outside term times. Given the choice of a games room, massage, yoga or cheaper parking, I know which one I would choose!

Parking costs high for part-time staff

Jane Smalley
Language Centre

After reading the article in the last issue of the Reporter I felt it necessary to write in and agree that the 'parking policy is unfair to low paid staff.'

I am a part-time member of staff who also pays 50 a month, 600 a year to park in the University car park. I feel it is necessary for me to use the car parking facilities, as I have to take my two young children to and from school. The alternative for me would be four bus journeys before I start my four-hour working day.

If the waiting time for permits cannot be reduced, would it be possible for the University car parking policy to be changed, by reducing the daily rate for members of staff? After all, isn't it now true that the University is taking an interest in the well-being of its employees?


 
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