USC aims to offer affordable parking permits for students

USC Transportation is striving to make more parking spaces available at a reasonable price for students, faculty and guests.

People who do purchase a permit are faced with a cost as low as $58.50 to as high as $414 per semester, all which are relative to the parking structure and whether the driver is in a motorcycle or a car.

Each semester is roughly four and a half months, meaning the monthly rate falls between $13 to $92. If a driver uses his or her car at least five times per month, the driver’s monthly permit is probably less expensive than paying to park on a daily basis.

USC Transportation Associate Director of Operations David Donovan explained the logistics.

“We have eight parking structures and numerous open-air surface lots across both campuses, as well as garage parking and surface lots associated with USC Housing facilities. There are around 15,000 spaces available,” Donovan said.

Donovan also addressed how USC keeps permit rates as low as they can, while still contributing to the University-approved budget.

“We operate on a zero-based budget system; we can only spend what we generate in revenue in a given fiscal year,” Donovan said.

For those students who live off campus in an apartment, most of those complexes provide deals for car parking.

Last year, the apartment complex Lorenzo had promotions for free parking if students signed a lease with them at certain times of the year.

Rachel Erickson, a senior majoring in global health, lives in Chez Ronnee, which had two parking spots included in the rent. Erickson said if she and her roommates needed more than two spaces, she would be reluctant to look into street parking.

“I know many people who’ve been towed or had the car vandalized on the street,” Erickson said.

Others avoid street parking because it can be hard to find. Commuter Kaeli Flaczinski, a senior majoring in astronautical engineering, pays $414 per semester for a parking permit.

“It is insane to find a parking spot on the street,” Flaczinski said. “I do not necessarily mean [the permit] is worth it.”

Donovan mentioned how accommodating USC has been for students commuting to campus.

“Commuter students who bring their vehicles to campus have the same privileges residential students do,” Donovan said. “Students who use alternate forms of transit are supported by our various alternate commuting options, including carpool and vanpool programs, subsidies for discounted Metro permits and partnerships with programs like Zimride and Zipcar.”

The hassle of finding parking off campus is one reason students are buying parking permits for on-campus parking.

“If I had all the time in the world to search for street parking, I would, but honestly it’s just easier to have a set place to park that I’ve already paid for,” Erickson said.


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