Starting in the fall, any Youngstown State University student registered for more than six credit hours will be charged a transportation fee.
Danny O’Connell, director of YSU parking services, explained that the transportation fee will include students parking permits.
“The transportation fee will be $115. With the fee, they are able to order a parking permit at no additional charge. Students that are registered for five or less hours are able to opt into the transportation fee and receive a parking permit with no additional charge,” O’Connell said.
Although the parking permit will be included in the transportation fee, students will still have to order the permit. Parking services will send out an email before school starts to instruct students how to order the parking permit.
“The email will say that you were assessed the fee, and you are entitled in a parking permit for no additional charge. From there, we will ask the student to go into their portal and order the parking permit,” O’Connell explained.
O’Connell says the actual parking permit will still look the same as the previous years and will still be needed to park.
“It is important the students order the parking permit, because any one who does not have the permit will need to pay a charge to park in the lots or decks,” O’Connell explained.
O’Connell said he believes the new transportation fee will not affect the staffing levels of students at parking services. Staff will still need to check every vehicle for a parking permit that is entering the lots or decks.
“Parking services has students monitoring the gates of every deck and lot for two reasons. One is to collect the money for anyone who does not have a permit and two is to handle reservations. But most importantly we are the ears and eyes of campus police,” said O’Connell.
If a student working the gate sees something out of the ordinary, they have access to police radios as well as a phone inside the booth.
Besides the transportation fee, students will also notice another change in parking services: the university will have three campus loop buses.
“These campus loop busses will shuttle from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. every day. Two busses will run clockwise and one will run counterclockwise. So that these busses will hit every pick-up location every 15 minutes and 10 minutes,” O’Connell said.
However, the times the shuttles will be running are tentative. Parking services is working with student government, student activities and other groups to possibly make adjustments.
Parking services is also working with these groups to create shuttles from campus to downtown on the weekends and during lunchtime throughout the week.
“The lunch time loop will run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. It will run from Lincoln Avenue to downtown, where students can hop out and have lunch and pick the shuttle back up to campus. On the weekends, we will continue these shuttles in the evenings until 11 p.m. These shuttles will not hit all of campus, just campus housing,” O’Connell said.
Another change will be an additional surface lot on Ford Avenue between Grant and Scott Street. This lot will provide one hundred and thirty spots.
O’Connell said he believes that students will voice concerns about the new transportation fee.
“There will not be a space problem. Since we renovated the M-2 deck, we have been preparing for this time. We have done car counts and space counts and we have plenty of room for all students to park in all of our decks and lots,” said O’Connell.
Sabrina Long, a junior in the nursing program at YSU, lives on campus and believes the transportation fee has advantages and disadvantages.
“As a resident, I am required to purchase a parking permit. My parking permit is used mostly to allow residential parking because I usually walk to my classes and any other events I attend on campus. However, it is nice to have the penguin shuttle for a rainy or snowy morning, and that needs funded somehow,” said Long.
The transportation fee money contributes to funding parking services.
“Since we did not destroy the M-2 parking deck, we spent millions of dollars renovating it. So the money will go into a reserve fund. Also, the transportation fee does not include just a students parking pass. It also includes, the salt for the winter, our parking vehicles and all of our campus shuttling,” said O’Connell.