A petition calls for the University of Victoria to consider revising its plan for parking fees this fall.
While the university pitches reduced parking fees as a way to shift people away from traditional car use, five unions representing employees at UVic note axing the annual pass program creates a more than 50 per-cent cost increase.
“This is a significant increase for many of our members when they need to put food on the tables for their families,” CUPE 951 president Kirk Mercer said in a statement. His union is among the five that started the online petition.
UVic announced the fall parking changes in April as part of the institution’s action on climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
A key goal of the school’s Climate and Sustainability Action Plan is to increase use of alternative transportation modes such as transit, cycling, walking and carpooling.
In fall 2021, the first phase of changes included discontinuing term parking passes and dropping the cost of monthly parking and daily rates at lots further from Ring Road. As of Sept. 1, annual parking permits will be replaced by monthly permits.
While commending elements of UVic’s plan, such as reduced cost of bus passes, the union petition states cancelling the annual parking pass means a more than 50 per cent increase to parking costs. It calls the initiatives harsh, immediate, inflexible and unfairly targeting employees who do not have the option to use alternate transportation.
In April, the university proposed a compromise, a three-year phased implementation for employees who are current annual permit holders and make less than $68,000. It does not apply to those who were not annual permit holders last school year or new employees.
Monthly rates would be $60 this year, $70 in 2023 and the full rate of $75 in 2024.
Lynne Marks, president of the UVic Faculty Association, one of the five unions behind the petition, noted that over the past two years many employees worked remotely and didn’t require a parking pass.
“While justified by the university in terms of green initiatives, these changes only create more challenges for the employees and students who are least able to manage in the current economic circumstances,” Marks said.
The petition calls on the school to reduce the parking cost increase to less than the cost-of-living increase per year and keep the annual pass as an option for employees. Find it online at bit.ly/3SDLTQG.
Learn more about the changes at uvic.ca/security/parking and the Climate and Sustainability Action Plan at uvic.ca/about-uvic/climate-sustainability-plan/index.php#ipn-community-engagement.
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