The University of Maryland’s DOTS announced planned bus cuts, parking ticket rises and blocked parking for sophomores Tuesday night.
At the Residence Hall Association’s budget review meeting, Department of Transportation Services executive director David Allen said the university may lose all buses in the summer except for the 105 route, 104 College Park Metro route, Nightride and evening security routes, such as the blue and green routes.
The proposed change — a $300,000 cut for summer shuttles, which are currently funded by mandatory fall and spring transportation fees — is in an effort to cap proposed budget increases at 7 percent, Allen said. The department also has to keep pace with a mandatory state three percent increase in salary and wage fees.
“The significant downside of this is that those who are here in the summer are going to have significant reduced bus services,” Allen said.
Student mandatory fees — $160,000 worth — would still pay for the routes that do run during the summer, he said.
“There’s very little room to cut in the whole parking operation,” Allen said. “Because the budgets are so intertwined, the only real place to do cuts is on the shuttle service.”
In addition to the bus reduction, parking tickets for “inconveniencing others” could increase from $70 to $80 — the first time it’s been raised in a dozen years, Allen said. Meter violations will go up from $35 to $40.
RHA Vice President Benjamin Reichard asked Allen what the decision process was in determining that these specific prices would be increased.
Allen said that “a lot of parking is political,” and because the last time DOTS increased these prices was more than 10 years ago, it thought increasing fines rather than charging extra for parking spots “would be reasonable.”
“Rather than increase [student’s parking] fee, we’ll let the folks that are parking illegally have some responsibility in this,” he said.
In addition, with Purple Line construction underway, sophomores may not be able to park on campus next year, Allen said.
[Read more: UMD’s bus route to Columbia is back]
“Lots of institutions do not allow freshmen and sophomores to have cars on campus because they’re residents,” he said, though he suspects DOTS will be able to “make a decent number of exceptions as [it] did for freshmen residents” this year.
The Purple Line construction may also leave fewer parking spots for visitors to use, he said. DOTS plans to accommodate large events like conferences by having an increased number of buses that run to the metro, and directing attendees to The Hotel.
“We just don’t have the space anymore,” Allen said.
While Allen told an RHA senator that the plans for a garage under the School of Public Policy were off due to underground spaces being $100,000 per spot, he reassured the RHA that DOTS still has a garage in its future.
“By 2024, we will have a new garage, and we won’t have to charge for it,” he said, referencing the fact that the debt for the other garages will be paid off by that year. “We’ll see about the golf course lot.”
In December, the RHA passed a resolution supporting the use of sections of the University Golf Course for new developments such as recreational fields and a potential parking lot.
The RHA will vote on whether to approve the proposed budget increases at its next senate on Feb. 19. The department’s budget decisions are still subject to approval by the Campus Transportation Advisory Committee and the Committee for the Review of Student Fees, which have not yet approved the proposed changes.
Due to a reporting error, a previous version of this story said DOTS would cut some summer buses, raise parking tickets and block parking for sophomores. DOTS plans to cut some summer buses, raise parking tickets and block parking for sophomores, but its budget decisions are subject to approval by the Campus Transportation Advisory Committee and the Committee for the Review of Student Fees. This story has been updated. http://www.dbknews.com/2019/02/06/umd-dots-bus-cuts-parking-ticket-raise-block-sophomores-college-park-purple-line/