The UCSD Bait and Switch – Transportation and Parking Services

Alec Weisman

Two years ago, Transportation and Parking Services came crawling to the UCSD Associated Students and begged for a student fee referendum to help fund the shuttle service. In the course of their pursuit for additional student money, many documents surfaced that revealed the internal mechanisms of TPS and the methods that TPS uses to screw over their customers.

In the fiscal year of 2007-2008, TPS generated $2,977,252 in revenue from S Permit sales. Presuming that parking permits cost an estimated $600 in 2007-2008, that means that at least 4,900 S Permits were sold that year. According to the Parking Surveys located on TPS website on April 1st, 2008 there was a total of 6,223 S spaces at UCSD, with only 2,813 of those spaces located on west campus. TPS sold their parking permits with the knowledge of a shortage of spaces in west campus, but they still decided to exacerbate the problem.

According to Transportation and Parking Services, as of January 1st, 2011 there is now a total of only 4,586 S spaces at UCSD, and only 1,895 of those are located on the main campus. That is a decrease of 2,000 total spaces, 1,000 of which are located on the main campus. Undergraduate students get hit hardest, but someone has to benefit from this reallocation, right?

Wrong. Technically, everyone gets screwed.

B permits, which generate the most revenue for TPS ($4,761,953 in 2007-2008), get charged more than undergraduate students for parking permits ($972 as of March 15th, 2011). Averaging for price increases, between 5,000 and 6,000 B permits were sold in 2007-2008. Since then, the total number of B spaces has dropped from 6,314 to 5,042. On main campus, B spaces decreased in availability from 4,011 to 3,532.

A permits, which cost the most money to purchase ($1,116 as of March 15th, 2011), have the fewest available spaces and have also been disappearing from main campus. As fewer faculty exist to purchase the exorbitantly priced A permit, only $3,238,402 was generated in 2007-2008. Averaging for price increases, approximately 3,000 A permits were sold in 2007-2008. Since then, the total number of A spaces has had a slight increase from 2,078 to 2,344, although the number has slightly decreased on main campus, from 1,641 to 1,602.

Yet it is the undergraduates who get screwed the most. According to parking surveys conducted by TPS in order to determine average usage, no more than 7 S Parking Spots are vacant in main campus between 10:00 am and 3:00 pm. There are however, between 200 and 400 B Parking Spots, and between 150 and 400 A Parking Spots open and available during that same time slot on main campus. Back in 2008, there was between 15 and 60 S Parking Spots available on main campus. Undergraduate students today are lucky to find a parking spot if they arrive after 8:30am on main campus.
It is important to know where the remainder of the revenue for TPS comes from. First, the money from day permit stations and citations generate the majority of additional revenue. Why is this important? In the last four years, prices for day permit stations have increased as the number of visitor/metered spots has almost doubled from 485 to 709. In 2007-2008, $2,561,850 was generated by TPS from visitors’ spots, and in 2009-2010, TPS generated $7,238,721 from pay stations. The cost of citations has risen to $65 for most offenses and the number of total citations has also risen. In 2009-2010, TPS generated $2,600,000 in revenue from parking fines.

TPS Burning through Your Money

Finally, where did the additional spaces go? First, the entire North Campus Parking Lot has been removed. Where 1315 parking spots were once available now resides the Village and its accompanying rock garden. Only 587 B, 9 S, and 33 visitor spots now remain in the region of the parking lot next to the UCSD Rady School of Management. This new transfer housing resulted in an increase in undergraduate cars taking up space in the remaining main campus parking. The new promise of 3rd and 4th year housing is likely to continue this trend of unused cars limiting commuter access. This requires commuters to turn to the additional parking lots east of the I-5 freeway.

Undergraduate students must resort to the last available source of parking at UCSD, a major hassle in terms of time and productivity. The average shuttle ride from Regents lot to Price Center lasts between 10 and 15 minutes, and is also contingent upon the amount of waiting time, which ranges from 5 to 10 minutes on average. For those commuter students that must park in East Campus, there are between 30 minutes to 50 minutes every day that are wasted in transit between Regents/East Lot and Price Center. This time adds up. Factoring the 30 weeks of classes with approximately 270 total days of academics, between 135 and 225 hours, or between 5.6 and 9.4 days, are wasted in transit between East Campus Parking and Price Center per school year.

How does the UCSD administration seek to help commuter students? By making it harder to park in East Campus! The UCSD Radiation and Oncology Department are now converting a large segment of Parking Lot 703, also known as the Regents Lot, for construction purposes. This new interference causes the remainder of the East Campus parking lots to be even more crowded than normal, adding additional time onto a student’s commute that would be better used studying or working a job in order to pay for the seemingly constant UC fee increases.

The UCSD Administration and Transportation and Parking Services should both be held culpable for this injustice. Undergraduates are more than just a cash cow for the university, and need to be treated as more than an afterthought. Without undergraduates, there is no need for faculty, graduate students, or administrators, so start treating our time with as much value as you do yours.

Alec is a senior in Revelle College majoring in Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution.

1. January 1st, 2011
2. April 1st, 2008
3. Parking Occupancy Fall 2010
4. Parking Occupancy Spring 2008
5. UCSD Regents Lot Construction
6. East Shuttle
7. Final Report – AS 2010 Transit Referendum
8. Review of Funding Practices
9. TPS Budget
10. TPS Citations


  1. Hi dude, your information is very informative for us.

  2. I tried parking during spring break at the UCSD campus. I’m from out of town, but my mother lives in Encinitas. I wanted to purchase some souvenirs for my co-workers back east in Maryland so I did some shopping at the book store. Upon purchasing a $3.00 or $5.00 parking pass, I ran into a nice couple who told me that they spent quite a bit extra for parking privileges and got ticketed/fined just the same. (On Spring Break!!!) Then, trying to decipher the directions on the back of the parking pass seemed an exercise similar to taking the analytical portion of the Graduate Record Examination. In short the directions regarding where I could park and at what times seemed deliberately wordy and long winded. Sigh! In short I concluded this great University is not that different from many others that have discovered there is easy money to be generated in punishing, not just students, but tourists as well.

  3. StaffatUCSD · ·

    While I don’t dispute the facts of your post, I do dispute at least one statement: “As fewer faculty exist to purchase the exorbitantly priced A permit, only $3,238,402 was generated in 2007-2008.” B permits are only $12 per month less than A permits so they too are quite pricey. When you consider how many more open A spaces there are during peak hours, the untold injustice is that the faculty don’t pay a proportionate amount for their parking. The reality is that there are plenty of well to do undergraduates whose parents can afford to pay for their parking permits. The staff are the ones who get the short end of the stick since many of them have actual families to support. The faculty ‘A’ permits really should much more than what they are currently paying.

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  6. crp004@ucsd.eud · ·

    Hi Alec Weisman. Thank your for this informative article. I think it would be interesting to do a piece that compares UCSD’s parking permit prices vis-a-vis other UC’s. From what I know for 2014-2015 UC Riverside’s monthly “Gold” permit costs $40/month compared to the B permit (for grad students and staff) at UCSD that goes for $86/monthly, even UCLA’s comparable parking permit is cheaper at $77/month. Considering that UCLA is located in a larger and more congested metropolitan area really brings to light that something is particularly wrong at ucsd.

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