Duke Parking and Transportation is making efforts to “promote a more affordable and equitable environment” for on-site employees by lowering parking permit costs for eligible employees, per a release. Graduate students will also see reduced parking permit rates this year.
Starting this February, Duke plans to roll out a pilot program that will provide subsidized parking permits for staff and faculty making $80,000 or less.
The University plans to subsidize up to $30 per month, approximately half of the average permit cost for eligible employees, in permit fees.
Eligible employees must make less than $80,000 annually while working 30 or more hours a week and have the permit paid through payroll deduction. Any positions covered under a “collective bargaining agreement,” will be addressed separately “under the provisions of the contract.”
The subsidy will make parking permits free for those who park in remote lots and “considerably more affordable for other parking lots,” per a release. Most current employee parking permits range from $54.75 to $92 per month across lots on campus.
“This program recognizes the extraordinary efforts of our essential staff making $80,000 or less who have been steadfast in their dedication and commitment to serving Duke’s missions throughout the pandemic, and it recognizes that these individuals also shoulder more of the burden of current inflationary pressures,” said Executive Vice President Daniel Ennis in the release. “In addition, the program will help us recruit and retain essential support staff in an extremely tight labor market.”
Ennis clarified in the release that as this is a pilot program, it “will likely be subject to modifications.”
If an annual parking permit is funded through alternative means, such as through a department, it is not eligible for a subsidy. The same applies to non-location based permits and the Bryan Research Garage, the Research Drive Garage reserved section, reserved spaces, daily passes, multi-day passes and carpool permit participants.
Eligible employees with existing permits must maintain current lot assignments until August. After this, an employee can request a permit for other available lots or garages.
A special enrollment period for the subsided permit will be held the week of Feb. 27 for eligible employees who do not currently hold a permit. Permits will be assigned via availability, or employees can register on a waitlist for a preferred lot or garage.
New rates for graduate and professional students
The new annual parking permit rate for graduate and professional students in the current academic year will be $258. This is a 41% reduction from the current rate of $438, according to a Jan. 11 email sent to all Graduate School students from Suzanne Barbour, dean of the Graduate School.
A $180 credit will be posted to student permit holders’ bursar accounts in February, according to the email.
“This change was also directly informed by the report and recommendations developed earlier this year by a task force of representatives from The Graduate School, the Graduate and Professional Student Government, and the schools that house Ph.D. programs,” Barbour wrote.
The Duke Graduate School Union has also called for lowered parking fees. In August 2022, DGSU pushed for paid parking passes, which were an annual fee of $501 in the 2021-2022 academic year. Five days later, the Graduate School announced a new parking payment plan that would allow the payment to be spread out monthly. In a Sept. 14 announcement after the union’s Labor Day Rally, the Graduate School promised standardized and reduced parking rates by October.
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Ishani Raha is a Pratt sophomore and a university news editor of The Chronicle's 118th volume.