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Stanford’s parking permit rates increase again amid rising Bay Area living costs

SEAN LEE/The Stanford Daily

Stanford Transportation has increased parking permit rates for the 2019-20 year, consistent with its past practice of increasing rates every year due to increased living costs in the Bay Area.

The A permit, meant to provide more frequently available and conveniently located parking options at a premium, is now $116 per month — a $19 increase from last year’s rate. The C permit — designed as “a lower-cost option for those who want or need it,” according to Olivia Staciwa, a communications specialist for Stanford Transportation — has increased only by $1 from last year’s rate to $35 per month.

Staciwa stated that Stanford Transportation had worked with the University to keep the C permit as the affordable choice for students who are looking to keep cars on campus but are also willing to park in less convenient locations that may have less frequent availability. The more expensive A permit, in contrast, bore the brunt of increasing transport-related expenses.

“As the campus population grows and services become more expensive to provide, the costs associated with our programs and services also grow,” Staciwa said.

According to an article from Stanford Transportation, the free Marguerite shuttle servicing areas on and near campus experienced increases in labor and operational costs due to a “highly competitive market for bus services and operators” driven especially by the growth of tech companies in the area. These developments, along with the need for maintenance of parking garages, have driven costs up for parking permits. 

“Revenues from parking permits help to fund parking maintenance and sustainable transportation programs, such as the free Marguerite shuttle, our Commute Club Clean Air Cash program, and the maintenance of parking garages,” Staciwa said.

According to Stanford Transportation, parking permit rates at Stanford are comparable to or even cheaper than that of other Bay Area schools. For premium level permits, Stanford’s 2018 annual A permit rate of $1,164 was significantly cheaper than UC Berkeley’s C-Central annual permit, priced at $1,860 and UCSF-Mission Bay’s $3,000 annual permits. For economically priced permits, Stanford C permit annual rate of $408 in 2018 competed with San Jose University’s annual permit rate of $384 and Santa Clara University’s annual rate of $400. 

Many Stanford parking permit holders agree that permit rates are at a decently priced, given the Bay Area’s status as one of the most expensive places to live in the country. 

“The cost isn’t ideal, but I know my friends at UC [schools] pay a much higher rate per quarter and they still struggle finding parking,” said Leila Braganza ’21, who purchased the C permit. “Over summer and now, I have the residence parking permit [C], so I can only park in the areas around where I live on campus; but so far, I haven’t had difficulty finding a parking spot.”

Nathan Lee 19, who also purchased a C permit, said that, given his ability to afford the permit, it was “worth it” to have a car on campus since it “made it really easy and a lot cheaper to go home.” 

Though the C permit is relatively affordable for some, C permit holders often must park far from their destinations, and lots are frequently full. Braganza noted that because A permit parking spots are enforced Monday-Friday from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m., many of her peers often park in available “A” spots on the weekends or outside enforcement hours since they are more conveniently located and have more vacancies.

Even the C permit is often an obstacle for many who want to have their car on campus.

“I’ve also heard many people say they would rather not get a permit and just get ticketed since the fee is cheaper than paying for a permit,” Braganza added. “I think some of my friends during sophomore year were hesitant about bringing a car up, but after having to pay for Ubers and Zipcars or waiting for the Marguerite at very specific and sometimes inconvenient times, we became more willing to pay the fee.”

According to Staciwa, Stanford Transportation encourages students living on campus “to consider going car-free” by taking advantage of the Marguerite, discounted rates for Zipcar, weeknight rentals of $10 through Enterprise Rent-A-Car and bike resources complementing Stanford’s status as a “recognized Bicycle Friendly University at the Platinum Level” — all of which are supported by parking permit revenue. 

Contact Sean Lee at seanklee ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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Sean Lee

Sean Lee

Sean Lee '22 is the desk editor for the University News beat. He is interested in studying Political Science, History, International Relations, the humanities and the intersections between the humanities and STEM. An avid boba connoisseur and adventure seeker, he proudly hails from Arcadia, Los Angeles, California. Contact him at seanklee 'at' stanford.edu.