University of Wollongong students will have to dig deeper into their hip pockets if they want to park on campus come January 1.
The start of the new year will herald the beginning of increased parking fees across UOW’s 3100 car spaces.
In what will be the first rise in four years, fees will jump by at least 6.5 per cent – in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) increase since the previous change in 2013.
However, a comparison of 2016 and 2017 prices reveals some fees will rise by about 15 per cent.
Short-term parking station users who stay more than four hours (between 8.30am and 6.30pm) will have to fork out an extra $2 a day, while stays of between 30 minutes and one hour in the same car park will set drivers back an additional 30 cents.
Staff entry permit holders and contractors won’t be immune to the fee increase, with those categories set to rise above CPI in order to “improve staff to student equity”, the university said.
Car-pooling spaces, for cars with three or more occupants, remain free, as does parking for mobility permit holders and short-term parking of under 30 minutes.
UOW's chief administrative officer Melva Crouch said the fee increase was necessary to ensure the university could meet the rising costs of maintaining current parking areas and continue investing in infrastructure and services that “allow people to take modes of transport other than their car”.
“This includes a new six-storey car park, increased car-pooling provisions to maximise car space use, end of trip facilities for cyclists, a refurbished bus interchange, investment in the UOW shuttle buses and increasing the amount of on-campus student accommodation,” Ms Crouch said.
Asked if any of the additional revenue would be spent on more car spaces, Ms Crouch said there was limited room available for on-campus parking “without damaging the beauty and amenity of the campus”.
We would encourage car users ... to consider whether they need to continue parking on campus.UOW chief administrative officer, Melva Crouch
“We would encourage car users to use the Christmas-New Year break to consider whether they need to continue parking on campus or use the many public transport options available,” she said.
Car parking spaces at UOW are limited and in high demand – 25,000 students and staff share the 3100 spots.