AN EXEPOSÉ investigation has revealed that the University received almost £200,000 more in parking charges in the last academic year than they invest on average per year in alternative sustainable transport schemes.
Data released to Exeposé after a Freedom of Information (FOI) request shows that in 2014/15, the University received a grand total of £349,440.59 in parking charges. This figure includes £192,686.65 in staff permits and £138,045.36 in pay and display charges. £11,447.75 was generated by the sale of parking permits to students, despite the fact that students residing in halls of residence or within the city boundary (postcodes EX1, EX2 and EX4) are not eligible to apply for them, whilst parking fines accounted for £4,664.15 of the money received last year.
The University claims that the revenue generated from these parking charges is used to subsidise the sustainable transport alternatives it promotes. These include a free shuttle bus that runs from St David’s station, discounted bus tickets for staff and students and shower and facilities for cyclists and walkers. However, information on the University website states that on average only £155,000 is invested into these schemes each year. It is not clear where the rest of the money (approximately £195,000) received by the University in parking charges last year went.
Speaking about this discrepancy, a university spokesperson said: “A significant amount generated from parking charges are initially allocated each year to a host of sustainability initiatives. These include the patronage of the University-subsidised D bus services that had 159,600 passenger journeys originating at the Exeter campuses in 2013-14 – a growth of 29% since 2009. There has also been an 83% increase in membership on the University’s private Car Share Scheme website from 2013-2014, which currently stands at 530 members.
“Any additional surplus is then used for further sustainable initiatives such as installing additional cycle parking facilities, showers and subsidised cycle locks and lights for students.
“Parking charges income is also used for a number of further initiatives, including the financing of minibuses and their drivers, car park improvements, security cameras in car parks and software, purchase of permits, and the permit administrative staff.”
The FOI request also revealed that the amount of money collected in parking charges by the University in the current academic year (2015/16) is already almost as high as in the whole of last year, currently standing at £318,515.80 (As of 18 January). This means that the University needs only collect another £30,924.79 in the rest of this year to exceed last year’s figure. The amount of money received for student permits and from contractors are already greater than the amount collected last year, standing at £12,704.38 and £3,718.32 respectively. Speaking about this year’s data, a university spokesperson stated: “Funds associated with parking charges – which include permits, pay and display, contractor parking and fines – at the University of Exeter have been consistent in recent years, and there is nothing to suggest that won’t be the case in 2015/16. In fact, parking fines have decreased significantly in recent years, while income from student and staff permits remain predominantly the same.”
Pay and display charges apply at the University between 08:00-18:00 Monday-Friday. Parking costs £2 for up to two hours, £4 for up to four hours, or £6 for all day. Full permit charges vary depending on the salary of the staff member and the CO2 emissions of the vehicle in question, with the most expensive permit costing £246.72 a year. A full list of rates is available on the University website.
Parking is enforced on campus by Estate Patrol, and anyone caught parking without having paid or without a valid permit receives two caution notices of zero pounds, before a third penalty charge notice is issued with a £60 fine.