Pay to park and ride starts Thursday in Chapel Hill

tgrubb@newsobserver.comAugust 13, 2013 

PARKING1-CHN-080913-HLL

A new pay-to-park meter, left, and a notification sign went up this summer at the Jones Ferry Park & Ride lot. Chapel Hill Transit will charge for parking at four park-and ride lots.

HARRY LYNCH — hlynch@newsobserver.com Buy Photo

  • Parking permits

    Starting Thursday, drivers will pay to use four Chapel Hill Transit park-and-ride lots: Carrboro Plaza, Eubanks Road, Southern Village and Jones Ferry Road. The rates are $2 a day, $21 a month and $250 a year.

    Monthly and annual permits can be bought online at http://bit.ly/19xPwhQ or at the parking lot pay station. For more information, contact program manager Mila Vega at 919-969-4916 or email mvega@townofchapelhill.org. Information about the park-and-ride program is available at http://bit.ly/1bTdKVA.

    For more information about UNC’s park-and-ride permits, go online to http://bit.ly/14Nrqb4.

  • Litchfield moves up

    Brian Litchfield has been named director of Chapel Hill Transit, after serving 10 months as interim director.

    Litchfield joined CHT as assistant director in 2008. Previously, he was the chief development officer for the Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority (DART) in Des Moines, Iowa, and a community development planner at the Siouxland Interstate Metropolitan Planning Council in Sioux City, Iowa.

    He has a bachelor’s degree in business administration and marketing and a master’s degree in business administration, both from Wayne State College in Wayne, Neb. He is also a graduate of the Eno Transit Executive Seminar.

    Litchfield and his wife, Aarica, have a 3-year old son, Tennyson, and live in Carrboro, where they are regular riders on the CW, CPX, D and J routes.

    Chapel Hill Transit is the second-largest transit system in North Carolina, with a 125-bus fixed route and paratransit system, an average weekday ridership of 35,000, about 235 employees, and an operating budget of $19.7 million.

Editor's note: This story about the new Chapel Hill Transit park-and-ride fees incorrectly stated that annual revenues are estimated at $162,000, including a $150,000 annual contribution from UNC. The annual revenues are estimated at $231,300, including UNC's contribution.

CHAPEL HILL - Drivers who use town- and UNC-owned park-and-ride lots to get on a bus will start paying up to $250 a year for the privilege Thursday.

Chapel Hill Transit has established pay stations at four town lots: Eubanks Road, Jones Ferry Road, Southern Village and Carrboro Plaza. The lots will remain first-come, first-served, and drivers will have the option of paying $2 a day, $21 a month or $250 for an annual permit. Permits are good at any of the four lots, town officials said. UNC park-and-ride permits also will be honored at those lots.

Permits will only be required between 4 a.m. and 6 p.m. weekdays. They also will not be required for drivers who park to take the Tarheel Express on game days.

UNC will operate its own permitting system for employees and students, using six university-owned park-and-ride lots. The fees are based on a sliding scale, with an average annual cost of $250.

UNC decided to make the change last year as part of a five-year plan to cover a $6.5 million shortfall in its transportation and parking budget. The town followed suit in April to prevent UNC students and employees who don’t want to pay for a parking permit from filling up town-owned lots, Chapel Hill Transit Director Brian Litchfield said. UNC-affiliated drivers already make up the majority of those using town-owned lots, he said.

In January, some members of the Town Council balked at the idea of charging a parking fee to drivers who already pay $4 and $5 round-trip to use Triangle Transit buses. Triangle Transit has since agreed to provide free parking permits to TTA GoPass and monthly pass holders traveling to Raleigh, Litchfield said. TTA will provide those drivers with additional information once the details are worked out, he said.

The town paid roughly $128,000 to install signs and pay stations, hire part-time employees and repaint the park-and-ride lots. Litchfield said it will cost $69,000 a year to operate the lots. Annual revenues are estimated at $231,300, including a $150,000 annual contribution from UNC, he said.

The university, Chapel Hill and Carrboro share responsibility for managing and paying the local costs for the Chapel Hill Transit system.

Grubb: 919-932-8746

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