UNC, town park-and-ride fees begin Thursday

Aug. 13, 2013 @ 03:19 PM

Beginning Thursday, motorists who use town-owned park-and-ride lots will pay a fee.

Motorists who park in UNC park-and-ride lots also willo be charged a fee.

The news fees are, in part, a response to the rising cost of operating the town’s fare-free transit system and a recent reduction in federal and state funding for Chapel Hill Transit.

Chapel Hill, the university and the Town of Carrboro are partners in Chapel Hill Transit and share the cost to operate the system.

Town park-and-ride lots include Carrboro Plaza, Eubanks Road, Southern Village and Jones Ferry.

University park-and-ride lots include the Friday Center, Hedrick Building, N.C. 54, Chatham, Franklin Street, and 725 Martin Luther King Blvd.

The town will charge most motorists $2 per day, $21 monthly or $250 a year to park in its four lots. Parking meters were installed last week for motorists using the daily payment option.

Permits will be required between 4 a.m. and 6 p.m. weekdays.

Meanwhile, UNC employees will pay on a sliding scale based on income. Employees earning $25,000 to $50,000, for example, will pay $250 for an annual permit.

UNC’s annual permits will be honored at the town’s park-and-ride lots.

Mila Vega, transit service planner for Chapel Hill Transit, said that, as of Monday, 51 annual permits and 57 monthly permits had been sold.

The permits currently are available only online and are mailed within five to six days to motorists.

“The customers have been calling me back and telling me that they’re getting them faster,” Vega said.

To get the word out about the change in policy, Vega said the town has posted information on its website, posted signs at the lots and made a brochure explaining the change.

Vega said transit staff will be at each of the park-and-ride lots on Thursday and Friday to explain the changes.

“We will have staff available to answer questions and pass out brochures,” Vega said.

In a move to honor its commitment to regional transit, Chapel Hill Transit has worked out an arrangement with the Triangle Transit Authority so that riders of its regional buses who use the park-and-ride lot on Eubanks Road won’t have to pay the permit fee.  

UNC is the largest contributor to Chapel Hill Transit.

The university’s contribution to the transit system is about $7.4 million in fiscal year 2013-14, about 60 percent of the local contribution to the system’s more than $18.6 million operating budget.

The town’s share is about $3.7 million, a little more than 30 percent.