CampusParc promises improvement, some question parking availability
Published: Friday, February 15, 2013
Updated: Friday, February 15, 2013 20:02
CampusParc officials assured attendees at a town hall meeting Friday that parking operations on Ohio State’s campus were improving, but some OSU faculty and staff still found fault.
OSU Board of Trustees approved leasing OSU’s roughly 36,000 parking spots to an outside vendor for a $483 million, 50-year contract, on June 22. The deal with QIC Global Infrastructure, an Australia-based investment company, gave the company control over the operations of parking garages, lots and permit sales on campus. CampusParc handles the day-to-day operations.
CampusParc took over operations of Ohio State's parking garages, ground lots and permit sales in September.
Richelle Simonson, general manager of CampusParc, said at the meeting that since then, it has spent nearly $1 million updating technologies and infrastructure of the campus parking system.
Simonson said the difference is noticeable.
Garage equipment on campus was 95 percent operational during December, up from 78 percent in October. This means that during October, garage equipment was non-operational 22 percent of the time whereas in December, it was non-operational only 5 percent of the time, Simonson said.
“We still think we can move (the percentage of garage equipment up time) even higher as we continue to stabilize the system,” Simonson said.
Improvement will continue as CampusParc keeps adding new signage, lanes and updates to old systems and technologies, Simonson said.
From the time CampusParc took over parking operations on Sept. 21 until Dec. 31, the number of transactions processed in campus parking was more than 2.7 million for the more than 36,000 parking spaces under their management, said Steven Gresh, regional vice president of LAZ Parking, QIC Global Infrastructure’s operating partner.
“When we took this over, it was certainly no small undertaking,” Gresh said.
CampusParc is also focusing on the customer service aspect of their operations. Booth attendants have been replaced with ambassadors, and the company is working toward 100 percent turnaround of emails within 24 hours, as well as decreasing the average wait time for phone calls, Simonson said.
The average hold time for phone calls coming into the CampusParc phone center in December was one minute and 43 seconds, an almost three minute decrease from the October average of four minutes and 31 seconds. Simonson said this is not “exceptional” but “adequate.”
Despite the advancements CampusParc discussed during the meeting, some attendees came to voice their negative views or concerns with campus parking operations. Cleanliness of the parking garages, the number of parking spots available in comparison to the number of parking permits sold and enforcement of parking rules were among the concerns voiced.
About 50 people attended the meeting Friday in Drinko Hall. One attendee asked the panel why CampusParc has 50,000 active parking permits if there are only 36,000 parking spots available on campus.
Sarah Blouch, president of CampusParc, said there are several parking options on the outskirts of campus that people do not use because it may take them a CABS bus ride to get to the section of campus they need at that time.
“We always have empty spaces on campus at any time of day. They're just not the spaces you're wanting, or probably just not in the exact spot where you want them,” Blouch said. “(On) North Campus, we have the Lane Avenue Garage. It's about half empty all the time.”
Once the transition is complete, Blouch said she believes CampusParc's operations will be a leader in large parking operations around the country.
“The university doesn't want to continue just existing,” Blouch said. “They want to lead.”