Changes to parking and transport

Following the review of parking and transport, and the consultation period earlier this year, a final proposal was presented to VCEG in July and the group approved the recommendations outlined. In summary, these include:

  • A new annual permit pricing structure that takes account of salary and vehicle emissions
  • Introduction of a new, fairer, permit eligibility criteria
  • Alternative transport options including free inter campus shuttle bus to significantly reduce the reliance on taxis
  • Exploration of future improvements to the parking infrastructure

Details of these approved changes are provided below, alongside a summary of feedback received during the consultation period.

Over 40% of people who responded were in favour of this combined approach where permit price is linked to both vehicle emissions and salary.

This approach takes into account the vehicle choices colleagues have already made whilst making the increase as fair as possible in relation to the salary individuals earn. In addition to this, following feedback that the previously proposed salary bands were too broad, the new pricing structure now groups salaries into seven bands, as well as including the extra “lowest” emission line to acknowledge that over 50% of staff cars are now in the “low” band.

New pricing structure

(The new permit price is shown in bold, followed by the amount this has increased/decreased, and the percentage of increase/decrease)

 Salary 1234567
Emissions   Band B-C Band D Band E Band F Band G Bands H-P2 Prof 3+
High >140 £180.00
-£73.5
(-29.0%)
£305.00
£51.5
(20.3%)
£365.00
£111.5
(44.0%)
£405.00
£151.5
(59.8%)
£480.00
£226.5
(89.3%)
£555.00
£301.5
(118.9%)
£630.00
£376.5
(148.5%)
Middle 120-139 £144.00
-£15.5
(-9.7%)
£244.00
£84.5
(53.0%)
£292.00
£132.5
(83.1%)
£324.00
£164.5
(103.1%)
£384.00
£224.5
(140.8%)
£444.00
£284.5
(178.4%)
£504.00
£344.5
(216.0%)
Low 100-119 £108.00
£21.39
(24.7%)
£183.00
£96.39
(111.3%)
£219.00
£132.39
(152.9%)
£243.00
£156.39
(180.6%)
£288.00
£201.39
(232.5%)
£333.00
£246.39
(284.5%)
£378.00
£291.39
(336.4%)
Lowest <100 £72.00
-£14.61
(-16.9%)
£122.00
£35.39
(40.9%)
£146.00
£59.39
(68.6%)
£162.00
£75.39
(87.0%)
£192.00
£105.39
(121.7%)
£222.00
£135.39
(156.3%)
£252.00
£165.39
(191.0%)

These changes to the charging structure will be implemented from February 2020. 

A new, fairer, evidence-based approach to assessing eligibility for parking permits will be introduced. This new criteria is still postcode based and will mirror the Stagecoach Exeter ticket zone boundary (see new boundaries below), ensuring that there is a cap on the cost of travelling to work by bus of £9.90 per week (using the university discounted rate of 1/3 off weekly ticket prices). All postcodes within this boundary will not be eligible for a parking permit unless they have limited or no access to public transport. Colleagues with these exemptions, and those with unsociable working patterns or carer responsibilities will still be able to apply for a permit.

A ‘postcode checker’ will be available on the parking website for colleagues to easily check their eligibility.

Blue badge holders or colleagues with a temporary disabled parking permit will not be affected by these changes and you will continue to have access to the permit you currently hold.

To better manage the administration of parking permits, all permits will be valid for one year rather than the previous three year validity, including permits already issued. Colleagues will be e-mailed one month prior to the expiry of their permit to ensure they have sufficient time to arrange a renewal.

This approach will also remove the current two tier system where colleagues who started before May 2013 have access to apply for a permit under different eligibility criteria. Removing this two tier system will ensure everyone is entitled to a permit under the same rules regardless of how long they have worked here.

Existing eligibility boundaries

New eligibility boundaries

Colleagues had many great suggestions on alternative means of travel, one of the most popular being to expand the current shuttle bus service. Following this feedback, we are committed to introducing a free inter campus shuttle service between Streatham and St Luke’s campuses as a matter of priority and are aiming to start the new service early in the new year.

In addition, we will continue the funding in future years of the expansion of the Stagecoach staff discount currently being implemented by Project North Park, and will secure the ongoing growth of the city-wide e-bike scheme. We are also seeking to provide additional and updated cycle parking on our Exeter campuses alongside improved showering and locker facilities to support active travel. This will be looked at as a priority once the new approach to charging and eligibility is fully embedded.

Future improvements

We are also exploring improvements to other parking areas as a priority including, the location and amount of 2+ spaces, and the availability of these for colleagues who arrive later in the morning. We are also looking at the introduction of short stay spaces for colleagues arriving throughout the day or moving between campuses, and the introduction of technology to manage payments such as pay by phone for pay and display users. We will update colleagues as work on these areas progresses.

 

The university’s infrequent car parking user systems (authority to park permits, visitor permits and pay and display) will be updated to stay in line with the annual permit prices and local benchmarks; ensuring they complement the annual permit system and support our Sustainable Travel Plan. 

Pay and Display

The new pay and display pricing structure is benchmarked against Exeter Zone 2 tariffs. These new charges are set out below:

Existing chargesNew charges
2 hrs - £2 2 hrs - £3
4 hrs - £4 4 hrs - £5
6+ hrs - £6 6+ hrs - £10 (visitors only)

Visitor Permits

The price of visitor permits will increase in line with the pay and display day rate:

Existing chargesNew charges
£6 per day £10 per day

Authority to Park Permits (AtP)

The new AtP daily charge will be set at £2 per day to benchmark it against the equivalent daily rates in the new annual permit prices structure:

Existing chargesNew charges
£1 per day £2 per day

In total, we received 893 responses from colleagues across our Exeter campuses. The following is a summary of the key findings and feedback received.

Feedback on the four proposed options:

• Most popular option across all respondents: Option 4 – a combination of change to eligibility criteria, and a price increase based on volume of vehicle emissions and salary bands.
• Second most popular option across all respondents: Option 1 – changes to historic eligibility criteria and price increase based on current pricing structure.
• Second most popular option for drivers: Option 1
• Second most popular option for non-drivers: Option 3 – a price increase based on salary bands.
• Least popular option across all respondents: Option 2 – a price increase based on the volume of veicle emissions,

Comments relating to options chosen:

Respondents were asked to comment on why they had selected a particular option as their preferred choice. Below is a list of the top comment trends across these responses, regardless of which option was chosen:

The majority of comments concern the issue of ‘fairness’. The largest trend addressed the possibility that lower paid staff would be penalised by the new proposals:

  • Many respondents believed that charges based on emissions would penalise those on lower salaries who were less able to afford to switch to a lower emissions car.
  • Many respondents felt that the proposed salary bands were too broad, and that those on the bottom end of the lowest salary bands would end up paying a higher percentage of their salary towards car parking than those at the higher end of those bands.
  • Many respondents believed that staff on higher salaries should pay more, i.e. the more you earn, the more proportionally you pay (i.e. cost as a uniform % of salary).

Many respondents felt that the proposed price increases would penalise those who use a car (especially a larger car with higher emissions) out of necessity, e.g. carers, those with childcare needs, staff with disabilities, staff who work in rural areas with poor or no public transport links.

However, a large number of respondents felt that a balanced approach that takes into account salary and emissions was the fairest approach, and that those who had begun using a car with lower emissions should be rewarded in some manner (e.g. a discount) for doing so.

Comments relating to alternative ideas:

Respondents were asked whether they had any alternative options, ideas or suggestions for the new car parking policy. Below is a list of the top comment trends across all these responses, regardless of which option was chosen. 

The largest trend to emerge from this set of comments related to the need for the University to:

  • Provide an additional Park & Ride service to encourage staff members to park off-site.
  • Expand the current shuttle bus service to a larger number of areas around the city.
  • Subsidise a greater number of Stagecoach bus routes.

The next largest trend related to making clearer what alternatives to car travel were available to staff and incentivising these, as well as providing more facilities for non-drivers (e.g. more showers and bike storage).

As well as this, respondents were in favour of increasing the number of parking spaces and introducing greater restrictions on current spaces (e.g. restricting or removing the right to park for students and members of the public.

Another key trend was the issue of flexible working. Many respondents felt that staff would bring their car to work less often if the University encouraged working from home, flexible working, and/or working off-site. This tied in to making permits more flexible in terms of the number of days per week they covered.

A more detailed summary of the key findings can be viewed here - Parking Consultation Feedback 2019.

When will these changes be introduced?

The parking team are now planning the practical steps required to implement these changes and to launch alternative modes of transport. To ensure we have adequate time to plan and prepare, implementation of these changes will now take place in February 2020.

The new eligibility criteria will be introduced from 1 February for all new parking permit applications. For existing permit holders this will be a phased approach over a 12 month period to allow changes to travel arrangements, if necessary. If you are an existing parking permit holder, you will be contacted in January with information about how these changes may affect you and what action you may need to take.

Please note that if you have a blue badge or a temporary disabled parking permit there will be no changes to the eligibility criteria and you will continue to have access to the permit you currently hold.