UMass Boston students and staff can expect to pay more to park on campus, as some rates will increase by at least 50 percent at the end of the current semester, the university announced Friday.
Currently, parking at the school for a day costs $6, a rate that will continue throughout the spring semester. Under the new rate structure, daily parking at the university’s lot at the former site of the Bayside Expo Center will cost $9, and parking at a new, 1,400-space garage and other campus lots will be $15, according to a letter from Kathleen Kirleis, the vice chancellor for administration and finance at UMass Boston, sent to the school’s community.
The new parking rates represent the first increase in 15 years, and are necessary to help pay for the $69.75 million garage that is projected to open in the summer, the letter stated.
UMass Boston, facing a financial crisis that has forced job cuts and other reductions, said the new rates “. . . flow directly from financial realities of needing to pay the debt service . . . on the garage and operate the facility,” Kirleis wrote in the letter.
Parking costs will also increase for prepaid parking passes for the Bayside lot and the new garage. New students buying a semester pass for Bayside will pay $7.20 a day, for faculty and staff, the cost of a semester pass for Bayside would be $8.22 a day, according to Kirleis’s letter.
Returning students next year will be able to buy a semester pass for the Bayside lot that would average out to $5.85 a day, according to the letter. Current semester pass rates for students would appear to range in daily cost from about $4.64 to $4.88, according to the school’s site.
A semester pass for the new garage would cost students $12 per day, and faculty and staff $13.71 per day, according to Kirleis’s letter.
The school, in a statement, said about a third of its 16,500 students drive to campus.
“We believe that this structure provides students, faculty, and staff with a lower-cost option at Bayside and offers convenient, on-campus parking at rates comparable to or lower than those found at many colleges and universities in the area,” said Kirleis in a statement.
Not everyone agrees.
Tom Goodkind, president of the Professional Staff Union at UMass Boston, called the proposal, “regressive” for students and adjunct faculty.
“We will try to push back on this, I think it’s going to be devastating for the campus,” he said. “I think it’s going to hurt recruitment and retention.”
Union contracts at UMass Boston expired last June, and union and school officials have been negotiating since December 2016, he said.
“This is going to stall bargaining like crazy,” said Goodkind. “People are very, very angry about this.”
Tim Logan and Laura Krantz of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Danny McDonald can be reached at email@example.com.