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Hundreds of drivers will lose out in new campus parking scheme

The University of Sussex has introduced a new charging structure for car parking on campus. This comes after a university review of the charges for car parking use.

Currently on campus car parking costs users £1 a day since May 2006. New car parking permits will cost students £55 a term, or £165 for a year. The increase of 10 per cent is the first since 2003, when charges were introduced.

New scratch cards for students who wish to pay daily have also been introduced. These will cost £1.10 which the university has stated is one-150th of the annual rate for students.

Full-time staff will pay £25 a month for permits. This will be paid by salary deduction which will be approximately £300 a year. A full-time member of staff works on average 220 days a year and the average each day with this new system of charging will be £136.

The new structure means that staff will pay for parking proportionately to their contracted hours and the university hopes that the new charges will address “equity issues for part time staff.
“This new charging structure and pro-rata part-time payments for part-time staff should make the parking system simpler for users. As most staff are likely to opt to pay by salary deduction, and with scratch cards reducing cash collection, it will also be cheaper to manage.”

New daily scratch cards will also be available for staff for £2 each, one-150th of the rate for staff annually to suit those who want to use the car parking on occasion.

The permits will cover all of the periods when parking charges apply. From February, this will be throughout the year, including from Monday to Saturday, 8am to 8pm.

Visitors to the university will also be able to use scratch cards. Currently, visitors pay £1 but the new charge will be £2 a day.
In an effort to deter people using the campus as a cheap car park, external users will be charged £6 for six hours. They will be able to pay via the pay-and-display machines used currently.

The changes will take place in February to give parking users time to apply for annual or month permits as well as time to purchase scratch cards.

Some students welcome the new changes to parking on campus. One third year undergraduate said:
“To be honest, it might cost a little bit more overall. But it will mean more flexibility and it won’t mean that a user will have to find change in the morning.”

In addition to the new charging system, the university have said that warning notices will not be issued by enforcement officers after 1 February. The officers will however be able to issue £60 fixed-penalty notices to those who park illegally on campus.

The university added: “Car parking is currently subsidised by the university, with the costs of providing and maintaining car parks exceeding the revenue raised by parking charges.

“In line with requirements set by Council (the university’s governing body) that trading services cover their costs, parking charges will increase. However, the necessary increases will be phased in over a number of years.”

The plans have left some unhappy though. A second year International Relations student said: “3 out of 4 days a week my increase will be 120 percent. Not much in money terms but they’re abolishing the half day ticket and extending the hours. That sounds pretty inflation busting to me.”

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