UTSA free, low-cost parking options include shuttles, VIA, daily permits, carpooling

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(Aug. 20, 2010)--As alternatives to buying a parking permit, there are many low-cost and even free options for commuting to the UTSA campuses -- for those who have more time than money. These alternatives can help UTSA students, faculty and staff save money and energy -- and avoid hunting for a parking space.

Free options include VIA Park and Ride, VIA routes 93 and 94 (just show your UTSACard) and UTSA bike permits. Additionally, students can ride a free UTSA shuttle from seven apartment complexes (see the list below) near the UTSA Main Campus.

Other low-cost travel options are the VIA Student Semester Pass ($35 per semester) and monthly passes ($30 for faculty and staff) -- all including the VIA Bike and Ride program (bike racks on the buses).

Additionally, student, faculty and staff commuters can save money with rideshare and carpooling, a motorcycle permit, daily UTSA parking permits and short-term paid parking.

The alternative is a UTSA parking permit. If you choose to park on campus, avoid getting a parking ticket -- buy a parking permit and park in the appropriate space. A variety of permits are available to UTSA faculty, staff and students. Visit the ASAP information system to review options and purchase an annual parking permit.

Read more at the UTSA Parking website.

Read details below on free and low-cost commuting and parking options.

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Free options: Commuting to UTSA

  • Park at VIA Park-and Ride (University or Crossroads) and ride VIA route 93 or 94 buses (also between the Main and Downtown campuses) simply by showing your UTSACard. Read details at the VIA Metropolitian Transit web site.
  • Live on-campus? Walk or bike to class. The UTSA parking office offers free bicycle permits.
  • Live at a nearby apartment complex? Ride the UTSA shuttle to campus. The off-campus shuttles operate on class days 7:30 a.m.-9:55 p.m., Monday-Thursday, and 7:30 a.m.-5:55 p.m., Friday. Shuttles serve seven apartment complexes: Hill Country Place, Broadstone Ranch, The Highlands, The Outpost, The Reserve, High View Place and Maverick Creek

Low-cost options

VIA Metropolitan Transit

  • VIA Student Semester Pass: For $35 per semester, students can ride any VIA bus.
  • VIA Monthly Big Pass: For $30 per month, faculty and staff get unlimited rides on all regular buses and streetcars.
  • VIA Half-Fare Big Pass: For $15 per month, faculty and staff get unlimited half-price rides on all regular buses and streetcars.
  • VIA Vanpool Program: Share the driving, share the cost and enjoy the savings.
  • VIA Bike and Ride Program: Each VIA bus has racks to carry two bikes.

UTSA carpool options

  • Faculty and staff can ride with three or more faculty-staff members to campus and buy (a) a Faculty/Staff Reserved space for $17 per person per month or less, (b) a Faculty/Staff A space for less than $8 per person per month or less, or (c) a Faculty/Staff B space for less than $4 per person per month or less. Each approved carpool rider, excluding the permit holder, will be issued five daily scratch-off permits at no charge, valid for the space type of the carpool permit for the times when you need to drive to campus.
  • Student commuters can ride with three or more people to campus and park (a) in the South Parking Garage for $19 per person per month or less or (b) in a commuter space for $3 per person per month or less.

Other commuter options

  • Motorcycle: Motorcycle permits are $46 for the year ($23 with purchase of a vehicle permit, except resident housing permit).
  • AlterNetRides: This service offers rideshare and carpool matching for faculty, staff and students. For more information, visit the AlterNetRides website.
  • Daily Permits: If you drive to campus only occasionally, you can buy daily permits, sold in packs of 5 for $4 per permit, for surface parking. These are available for commuter students (S), resident housing students (K) and faculty/staff (F).
  • Fast Pass is a preloaded card allowing access to the South Garage (Main Campus). Enter and exit the garage without picking up a ticket at the entrance or waiting to pay at the garage customer service center. Buy a card loaded with $20, and swipe the card to enter the garage. Swipe the card when exiting, and the charge is deducted. Reload the card at the South Parking Garage customer service center.
  • Short-term paid parking, $1.50 per hour: Park in numbered spaces on the North Parking Garage top level and lots 1A, 5 and 8 on the Main Campus. At the Downtown Campus, park on the garage top level and numbered spaces in the Monterey Building lot. Pay at any pay station by entering the parking space number; you can add time without returning to your vehicle.
  • Short-term paid parking also is available in the South Parking Garage on the Main Campus at $1.50 per hour. To pay, take the garage entry ticket to the garage cashier station before returning to your vehicle.

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Jane Wilcox, director of business auxiliary services, contributed information for this story.