UNO changes parking and transportation service

Photo contribution The Gateway

Charlotte Reilly

The University of Nebraska at Omaha Parking Services has upgraded parking permits and the shuttle service in order to give students more options and make travel faster.

“We are bringing in a lot more technology,” said Parking Services Manager Vanessa Rath. “We have virtual permits which offer more parking options, and we are working with the Park Omaha app so payment is easier.”

This year, annual, semester, daily and hourly permits are available to students, faculty and the public. The virtual permits identify cars by scanning license plates. People who want to park have to register their license plate(s) online through the parking services website. Even if two or more license plates are listed under a person’s name, only one car per permit can be in the garage or parking lot at a time.

The virtual pass allows parking services to remove the gates on the parking garages. This decreases cars idle time making the campus greener, and it allows for better traffic flow.

When a garage or lot is closed, parking services can send out emails specifically to people who
have permits in that garage or lot. It is important to check emails from parking services because that is their only way of reaching every student.

“Just take a couple seconds to skim through the email because it might give you more parking options or make your commute better,” Rath said.

The permit options will especially help part-time students, Rath explained. If students are only on campus a couple times a week, they can buy a daily or hourly pass to save money. Their goal is to provide affordable parking to permit holders.

“We don’t want people to get tickets. We want to manage the lots to help traffic flow,” Rath said. “If there were no permits or restrictions, cars would be like vultures trying to find a spot to park. We help with congestion. People have permits in certain areas so they know to go straight to that area to find a spot, instead of looking for a spot throughout the entire campus.”

The UNO shuttle service has also changed. The shuttles will take a more direct route and have less stops, said Transportation Coordinator Kevin Jones. Shuttle locations are listed on the parking services website.

“It is going to be quicker to use the shuttle than to drive between campuses,” Jones said. “The service is direct, and you don’t need to find parking.”

Taking the shuttle is more environmentally friendly as well. Instead of each student driving a personal vehicle, the shuttles take students in large groups.

For students who live off campus and do not take the shuttle, Parking Services is implementing a carpool program. There are reserved spots for staff, faculty and student carpools. The carpool permits are sold at a reduced rate to promote ride sharing.

Parking Services is also in charge of the MavRide program. All UNO students can use the city bus for free by presenting their MavCard to the driver. Students can also rent cars to drive to campus.

“We don’t want students to feel like they have to have a permit or a car to come to UNO,” Rath said.