Parking and Transportation Services (PATS) is changing the way parking permits are dispersed and utilized for the fall semester by mandating a “Park Plate Out” policy beginning Aug. 12. Rather than having a physical permit, all students and faculty will have to register their license plate to park at any lot on campus.
PATS staff will be able to drive down a row and scan every license plate in any given parking lot. The software will automatically recognize plates that are registered and those that aren’t, allowing the staff to issue tickets accordingly.
Colton Morgan, communication and marketing officer for the Office of Administrative Services, said license plates will need to be registered online at the PATS website to avoid a parking violation, and up to three cars can be added to a student’s account.
Drivers will have to pull into parking spots with their plate facing the aisle, according to Morgan. Students, faculty and staff who prefer to back into a spot and are willing to spend an extra $50 will have the opportunity to make a one-time purchase for a front-facing plate through PATS that will last throughout one’s entire time at USF.
Morgan said this new system will be more convenient for drivers and parking enforcement.
“There are so many benefits to it. Once you purchase your permit, you immediately have access to your lots,” Morgan said.
“Because your license plate becomes your permit, we will be able to scan it and get quickly through the lot. The benefit of that to customers is that [PATS staff] actually won’t have to stop people that do not have permits, and that opens up spots closer to where they actually want to park and park where they want.”
After registering their vehicles, Morgan said students will receive an email showing their permit as well as which lots they can park in instead of waiting days to receive it in the mail or having to print it out.
The license plate scanner has been in use since August 2018 but the new policy was developed by PATS and officially amended in the Parking and Transportation Guidelines, Registration, Rates and Penalties-Regulation 4.0010 through the USF Office of the General Counsel on Sept. 8, according to Morgan.
Morgan said the decision to step into the virtual permit world was based on trends within the parking industry. He said everything is going virtual not only because of COVID-19 but because of improvements in technology that allow for parking lots to be scanned more easily.
“So this is actually an industry trend that’s been going on not just in higher education but also in city governments as well,” Morgan said. “There are a few other universities that have already implemented these changes throughout Florida as well as across the nation.”
While this is a significant shift for PATS, Morgan said many aspects of on-campus parking will remain the same, such as pay-to-park spaces for daily visitors or students. Payments will still be made at the parking meter based off the license plate and will be paid for by the hour.
The price of the parking passes will remain the same as it has the past six years at $226 for a student living on campus and $183 for a nonresidential student per year. Students can also buy permits by the semester at $113 for a resident and $91 for a nonresident.
Faculty and staff prices for parking permits will also remain the same as previous years, costing $270 annually or $135 per semester.
Sales for the virtual permits will begin July 15 so students, faculty and staff will have time to obtain a pass before tickets begin being issued using the new system Aug. 12.