PTS changes include parking meter rate increases for 2019-20

A patron feeds a parking meter next to Jody Richards Hall and the Academic Complex. The cost of parking meters rose to two dollars for 45 minutes and took effect at the beginning of the fall 2019 semester.

Abbey Nutter

WKU Parking and Transportation Services has implemented a variety of changes for the 2019-2020 school year, including one measure that, while improving convenience, will cost students more money.

PTS doubled rates for campus parking meters, going from 25 cents for 15 minutes to 50 cents for 15 minutes.

PTS Director Jennifer Tougas explained that part of this decision was aligning the rates at the meters with public parking areas and recovering some of the costs of the smart meters themselves.

“All of the meters now accept credit cards, and there are credit card transaction fees that go along with that,” Tougas said.

Another new addition to PTS, according to Tougas, is a free on-demand van service in the evenings for after the buses stop running.

“We’re really looking forward to students who are parking in remote areas late at night using that service to get around campus,” Tougas said.

Students can download the TapRide app and log in using their NetID after choosing the WKU option for their location. Once a student has logged into the app, there is a map of all the pick-up and drop-off locations.

“It kind of works like a closed Uber or Lyft system, where it goes to the driver and the driver comes to get you,” Tougas said.

According to the 2019-2020 overview page on the PTS website, another change for commuters was the addition of a new commuter lot located on Park Street between Cabell Street and 14th Avenue.

“The new Park Street Lot will be zoned C4 and will be served by the Topper Transit Big Red Route,” the page stated.

Another change that the page detailed was for residents who don’t have cars on campus.

According to the page, students enrolled in the Carless Program receive discounts on transportation services, such as free access to GObg public transit and discounted enrollment to the Enterprise CarShare program.

Tougas said there were two major changes through PTS for students.

The change on the housing side, related to the construction of the First Year Village, involved moving some housing students from the Pearce Ford lot over to the University Boulevard lot. The biggest change for commuters was moving to designated parking for all parking lots.

“Instead of having a C2 permit that can work in several parking lots, it’s one permit per zone,” Tougas said.

Tougas said that PTS dealt with challenges at Parking Structure 2, where they found that what worked last year didn’t work this year—there were too many permits in the area.

“For the first two weeks of classes, we actually filled PS2 to capacity, and students had to park in the overflow zone down around Creason,” Tougas said.

Tougas stated that PTS has since moved students out of PS2 into other lots that they showed interest in and moved others into other parking zones.

“We’re now at the point where, as the deck fills right around that 10:30 period on Tuesdays and Thursdays, there’s still at least one or two spaces in the parking garage,” Tougas said.

News reporter Abbey Nutter can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @abbeynutter.