January 28, 2011
Mr. Watts’ letter brings up three points that I would like to briefly address. The first relates to providing pro-rated parking to part-time staff. Employers have no obligation to provide parking unless it is part of a compensation package, which at the university, it is not. If it were, we would be required to provide parking regardless of the complexity or cost involved.
On the other hand, providing parking for employees is in an employer’s interest, which applies in this case. Our job, then, is to define a parking system that balances our interest (emphasis in original) in supporting staff needs with our obligation to effectively manage resources as a fiscally responsible, publicly funded institution. For parking, the point of intersection between obligation and interest is that we are prepared to provide access to parking for those who are eligible and who choose to pay for that access, on a broad basis to faculty, staff and students, and on an occasional basis for visitors.
The second point relates to whether the university should provide pro-rated parking based on income. An income-based approach would be inconsistent with how we price the other services we offer to staff, like food services. In addition, such a system would be very difficult to implement, complex and costly to administer, and hence, not in our best interests.
My final point relates to whether part-time parkers subsidize parking for others. Most people who pay for parking do not park every day for various reasons: vacations, illness, appointments, off-site meetings, etc. Nor is the cost of a permit based on hours of use. Instead, people purchase access to a parking service. Someone parking part-time may occupy a spot that is then unavailable to a full-time employee.
In closing, Parking Services may make arrangements in limited circumstances with self-identified part-time employees. Those interested in exploring these options should contact Parking Services directly.
Director Consumer Services Division
Office of Communications, University of Saskatchewan