Parking Q & A

Over the years, students, faculty and staff have raised a number of questions about Parking.  The following are some of the more frequently asked questions, along with answers and information.

Do faculty and staff pay for parking?

Yes, all faculty and staff pay for parking and they pay the same rates as students.  Resident students pay slightly less for a permit because they do not have to pay HST.

How are parking fees set?

Fees are set to cover the total costs of parking, smoothed over a reasonable number of years.  This approach reduces the need to increase fees by large amounts each year (as had to be done several years ago when the underground CCT garage was built).  Rather, fees are set to cover the costs over a reasonable timeframe, depending on the nature of the various costs involved.  For example, currently, the operation is saving for an extension to the deck in lot 8, which is estimated to be needed in 2016.

What have the rate increases been historically?

Unreserved              Reserved

2012-13            3%                             3%

2011-12            3%                             3%

2010-11            3%                             3%

2009-10        no increase              no increase

2008-9             (5%)                     (5%)

2007-8             (1%)                      1%

2006-7               5%                      5%

2005-6              25%                     30%

2004-5              25%                     30%

2003-4              24%                     30%

Why doesn’t the University fundraise to support parking?

The university's fundraising strategy is based on a comprehensive plan to support initiatives that advance U of T's teaching and research mission.  We want to engage our internal and external community in projects that will enhance the student experience, help to prepare global citizens who will meet future challenges, and contribute to the creation of new ideas for the betterment of society. Parking facilities are not something that would directly contribute to those goals; nor are they projects that generally appeal to potential donors.

Did the Parking Operation pay for the storm water pond next to lot 4?

The Parking Operation paid for a small portion of the storm water pond project.  The storm water pond cost $2.7m and was completed in 2009.  It was built to manage the storm water which runs off impervious areas (paved areas and buildings) and flows toward the Credit River.  Much of the runoff that requires management, in order to reduce problems in the Credit River, is created because our parking lots are large, impervious areas.  It was, therefore, appropriate for the Parking operation to contribute to this project.  The Parking operation contributed $450,000 toward the $2.7m project in 2007-8.

Interest – does the University pay UTM interest on the reserve for new construction?

Not directly.  The University pays interest to an ancillary based on that ancillary’s net cash position at the end of each month, which includes the reserve balance and other balances such as accounts payable and receivable.  This net balance can vary widely from month to month because of the seasonality of cashflow which most ancillaries experience. The University pays interest on the net cash balance at a rate based on the 90 day Tbill rate, which reflects what the University earns on short term cash balances.  The interest income is shown (on Schedule 1 in the revenues section of the ancillary budget each year) as “Investment Income”. 

What is the outstanding balance of the mortgage for the CCT garage?

We originally borrowed $12,892,000 in September 2004.   As at April 30, 2012, the outstanding balance was $10,278,940.

I heard that prices would be lower if there hadn’t been transfers from Parking into the UTM Operating budget.  Is this possible?

No.  During the last 10 years, transfers from parking to the operating budget were:

2002-3 to 2010-11:        zero

2010-11:                       $420,000

2011-12:                        zero

2012-13:                        zero

The transfer of $420,000 in 2010-11 was to begin to reimburse the operating budget for the cost of the deck.  That deck cost $6.4m.  To date, the parking operation has paid only $420,000 of that $6.4m cost, by way of the transfer shown above.  So the parking operation currently has the use of the $6.4m deck, but it has only paid $420,000.

The transfer of $420,000 in 2010-11 had no impact on the current prices which are planned to increase 3% annually and have been established according to plan for several years.

The parking operation does not currently make any transfers to the operating budget, as the Parking operation needs to build up a new construction reserve to pay for an extension to the deck.

How do loans and interest charges work?

When an ancillary, like Parking, needs a loan to finance a project, the University must first establish that the University can finance it (through the internal loan program, which uses both internal and external funds) and that the ancillary has a solid plan for repayment within an appropriate timeframe.  If the University can finance it, the interest rate charged is based on the market yield of the Canadian swap at the time of the loan and depends on the length of the loan.

Many students are under severe financial pressure and cannot afford UTM parking rates.  How is this issue of affordability/accessibility being addressed? 

Parking is one of many costs that a student may incur related to education.  Anyone who is struggling financially should contact Financial Aid in the Office of the Registrar.  Financial Aid is approached on a holistic basis, taking into account the financial situation of each particular student.  Financial Aid Advisors will meet with a student and provide options after reviewing a student’s entire financial situation, not just one aspect of it.  Financial Aid offers walk-in advising, and can assist a student in reviewing their budget and identifying cost-effective strategies for managing their educational expenses.

For example, in some cases Advisors may suggest alternative transportation methods which are readily available – such as taking advantage of the ‘U-pass’ program, which allows full-time undergraduate University of Toronto Mississauga students unlimited fare-free rides on MiWay, Mississauga Transit’s bus system.  As well, the shuttle bus service that runs between the University of Toronto Mississauga and the St. George campus is free of charge for UTM students and is a cost-effective alternative for students who are taking courses at St. George and/or travel to downtown Toronto on a regular basis.

Finally, Parking did introduce the sessional permits in 2011, which allow students to purchase parking for individual sessions, as compared to the 12 month annual pass, providing the students with a more affordable option.

Have we investigated setting up parking spaces along the outer circle?

We have investigated this option and cannot do it without creating a serious safety issue for motorists and pedestrians on campus.

Has Parking ever considered lining the lots differently (e.g. vertically/on an angle) to make more spaces

In theory the number of spaces in a lot can be increased by up to 20% by re-lining lots on an angled parking basis.  However, there are a lot of drawbacks.

The main drawback concerns safety.  To achieve greater capacity, the aisles are made more narrow and traffic must flow one way only (the space is only accessible when angled toward the vehicle).  This makes it more difficult for people to park and get in and out of the lot. This would result in longer periods of time for people to find a vacant space and those trying to exit. With a greater number of vehicles navigating in less space at the same time, the chances of minor accidents occurring would rise significantly.

A change to angled parking would also result in additional costs for consultations with traffic engineers, grinding down the current lines, and repainting.  These are substantial costs and would reduce any possible savings achieved by the change.

The likelihood of reduced safety, increased wait times, and increased costs has resulted in the decision to not pursue this approach for now.

Why doesn’t UTM use off-campus lots, like South Common Mall – and shuttle buses?

The property of other organizations is not available for our use for parking purposes.  Malls and other organizations have incurred costs to build their lots to accommodate their customers.    They do not welcome cars that might park in their lots and take up spots that their customers would otherwise use, even if we are willing to pay.  As well, there would be a cost to bus people over to our campus.  Finally, and perhaps most importantly, this would not be a pleasant, convenient experience for students, staff, faculty and visitors to our campus as it would involve a potentially long wait for a bus and the additional time to travel on a shuttle bus from an off-campus lot.