AUSTIN (KXAN) – Some University of Texas at Austin employees are worried that their title and salary could impact getting a spot in a parking garage.
KXAN talked to an employee who works in maintenance. He didn’t want to be named, because he’s worried about his job. He said he’s been on a waiting list for a parking spot for several years and often he has to go off campus just to park. “It was so far out, I was having to park at times, I ended up buying a bike rack and a bike and I would bike in,” said the employee.
He said the parking permit he requested was first come, but then about two months ago he noticed that there was this requirement, “Waitlist ranking is based on your job title and salary.”
“When I saw that I was appalled, I was offended,” said the worker. “To me that is very unfair. It’s a discrimination of my position and what I make for a living to support myself and my family.”
UT says this ranking has been around for street parking permits, but now it includes garage parking too. Bobby Stone, who is the director of Parking and Transportation, says this isn’t meant to single anyone out. “Our mission is education so faculty becomes someone that we look at as being critical to meeting the mission of the university,” said Stone. “We do give priority to people who have educational titles over those who have support titles. Not an issue of who’s important or one being more vital than the other, but sometimes you have to make those type of choices just based on the limited resource.”
There are 16,000 parking spaces on campus with staff getting about half of those spots. Stone said more are coming, the East Campus Garage is under construction and so is the one at the Graduate School of Business. Stone promised that the waitlist will move quicker with this across the board, but the employee isn’t so sure after already spending years waiting.
“We have been totally shut out. Us blue collar workers on campus have been shut out to garage parking so I would like to see it go to the old way,” said the worker.
Parking and Transportation is looking at some other options that could help with parking. Right now, the department encourages employees to get on Capital Metro which offers free rides to UT staff or take part in a car pool program on campus.