April 14, 2006

New access cards among parking improvements

Featured Image

Dennis Spann, left, presents complimentary umbrellas to Eunice Ogunbunmi, Edward Autry, and Rhea Hiett in recognition of their participation in the Vanderbilt MTA Free Ride program.
Photo by Dana Johnson

New access cards among parking improvements

The access-card system used in Medical Center employee parking garages has reached capacity and in June new parking-access cards will be issued to employees who park in these facilities. The new system will give Medical Center Traffic and Parking better information about utilization, aiding management and planning, said Ken Browning, director of Plant Services at VUMC.

Two carpool programs save employees money

At the request of employees, VUMC's traditional carpool program has been resumed. The program had been curtailed last November when FlexPool was introduced. Both programs are now offered.

Employees who park in the shuttle lots are free to carpool but the University doesn't administer parking fee reductions for carpooling at these lots. Both FlexPool and the traditional carpool program apply to Medical Center employees who park in garages.

FlexPool requires no registration. When entering the garage, all riders swipe in with their access cards (only one person needs to swipe out at the end of the day). Two people riding together for one day each receive a 50 percent discount off the daily charge (the daily charge is calculated as 1/20 of the monthly charge).

For example, if your monthly rate is $17.50, then for each day that you ride with someone else your monthly fee will be reduced by 44 cents. Each day you ride with two other people your daily discount is 66 percent, and each day you ride with three other people your daily discount is 75 percent. Discounts from one month's carpooling activity are automatically applied to the next month's payroll deduction for parking. Since the start of the program last July, $4,216 has been deducted from employee parking fees, Browning said.

The traditional carpool program provides employees with bigger discounts, but unlike FlexPool it requires registration (936-2122) and riders share a parking sticker. The sticker goes on a hang-tag that can be transferred from vehicle to vehicle.

Under this program, when two riders register, the sticker they buy comes at half the cost of a normal sticker and each rider is left to pay only one-quarter of the normal parking fee through payroll deduction. When three riders register, the sticker they share is one-third the cost of a normal sticker, with each rider paying only one-ninth the normal fee (i.e., one-third of one-third); if you're part of a four-person pool you pay only one-sixteenth the normal fee.

To add some flexibility to the traditional carpool program, groups can go in together on a shuttle-lot sticker ($45 per year) for use on days when someone needs to drive separately.

Married employees are welcome to participate in either carpool program.

Employees searching for people to carpool with can check the Regional Transit Authority ride match system (www.rta-ride.org/). If the system doesn't turn up a match right away, RTA recommends that you wait a week and check again (you only need to register once on the system).

Vanderbilt MTA Free Ride going strong

About 450 Vanderbilt employees per day ride the bus to work. Ridership has more than doubled since the introduction in 2004 of free Metro Transit bus service to and from work for Vanderbilt employees. Riders simply swipe their identification badge when boarding the bus.

The University recently sent post cards to the 575 employees who ride the bus most frequently, offering each of them a complimentary Vanderbilt MTA Free Ride umbrella. The umbrellas are available for pick-up in the Plant Services office, B-0312 MCN.

Move on up

Because capacity has temporarily grown tight in zone P of the South Garage, Medical Center Traffic and Parking has for the time being stopped issuing new zone P parking stickers. Browning asks for parkers' patience, noting that competition for spaces will ease as people leave Vanderbilt and give up their zone P access. In the meantime, if you're unable to find a space in zone P, you may park in the roof (zone PR).

That goes for anyone who holds an access card to any VUMC parking garage: if your zone is full, you're allowed to park in the shuttle lots or in any card-accessed zone where parking fees are equal to or less than those for your zone (the higher the zone is in a garage, the lower the fee).

Elevator service interruption in TVC garage

Beginning in mid April, elevator service in the TVC garage (patient parking) will be interrupted for approximately 18 months due to construction work. During the interruption, a shuttle will transport patients from the fourth level to the third level (where a bridge connects to the Vanderbilt Clinic).