In an effort to reduce congestion in campus parking lots and save students money, Parking and Transportation Services (PATS) have implemented a new carpooling program this semester.
According to PATS website, the carpool must consist of two or more faculty or students commuting together at least four times a week. Students registering for the carpool parking tags, which cost 15 percent of regular tags, must provide their class schedules upon registration to prove their eligibility.
PATS is working with the Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) to manage the new program and help students find a successful carpool through ZimRide, a software that matches students with others who have similar needs, said Manuel Lopez, director of PATS.
“Cost benefit wise, it could be higher benefit than the cost,” Lopez said. “Some programs like these are successful, and some are not. It depends on the culture. The clientele areas that are used to alternatives other than driving are more receptive to it. What we are getting now are the people that are already carpooling on their own.”
Rehan Feroz, a sophomore majoring in biomedical sciences, said having less cars on campus would be a welcomed change. However, he said he thinks the program may be under utilized.
“Ideally, I think it would help the USF parking situation, but I feel like not a lot of people will be comfortable doing it,” she said. “(I want) the liberty of being able to leave.”
According to PATS website, students and faculty members who carpool will also be enrolled in the Emergency Ride Home program, which provides taxi vouchers in case they are left on campus. In addition, up to three free, one-day parking permits will be issued to each member per semester for days they are not carpooling.
Nicole Crawford, a freshman double majoring in business and art, said she planned on taking advantage of the program with a friend.
“I would do it,” she said. “We don’t live on campus. We live 15 minutes away, so we’ll probably ride together.”
Carpool members will have access to reserved “prime parking spaces,” Lopez said. All members of the carpool must display their individual permits in the car windshield at all times and can only park in these spaces or the Y “park and ride” lots.
The number of parking spaces will be determined by the number of people who sign up for the service, he said.
By publication deadline, no permits have been sold.
“Anything helps in terms of trying to alleviate congestion and traffic demand,” Lopez said. “It’s one more piece in that plan … the carpool was the next logical step.”
The parking tags are available on a first-come, first-served basis.