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Reduced cost parking options available to graduate, professional students and some employees

November 5, 2020

Given the current public health situation, UW–Madison campus administration has collaborated with Transportation Services to temporarily expand parking options for graduate and professional students and lower-paid employees. These groups include many public transportation users, some of whom may feel a bus commute is no longer their safest travel option to and from campus.

Metro Transit operations are following local, state and federal public health recommendations and have limited bus capacity, require rider face coverings, and include daily disinfection measures. Campus bus routes follow the same safety procedures and have trailer school bus vehicles running behind to provide extra physical distancing opportunities. Learn more at the Transportation Services Smart Restart Hub.

“While we are confident that taking the bus is a safe and convenient way for our employees to commute to work, we can understand some people may want an alternative option,” says Director of Transportation Services Patrick Kass. “Due to the pandemic, many units have limited the number of employees on campus, and that has opened up more parking options for those whose job or studies require them to be here in person.”

Parking options include new low-cost and reduced-cost products valid in different parking lots across campus. Permit and pass availability will vary and may be limited. Purchases can be completed in person at a Transportation Services office or via the contactless drive-thru at the 21 N. Park St. office. Some purchases may be completed online; see the full product listing for more information.

The reduced- and low-cost options will be available to:

  • All UW–Madison graduate and professional students
  • Employees with a UW salary less than $35,000 per year (in base wages)

The $35,000 earning level is comparable to the average stipend for teaching and research assistants and the annualized salary of employees making approximately $15-$17 per hour. Base wages do not include lump sum bonuses or overtime.

Options include three reduced price parking permit options:

  • Monthly parking permit – $55 on-campus lot, $30 off-campus UW park and ride lot; valid for one month, can purchase up to three months at a time
  • Semester parking permit – $250 per semester (cost prorated); Fall semester valid Sept. 1 – Dec. 31, 2020, Spring semester Jan. 1 – May 31, 2021
  • Base lot (annual) permit – $500 (cost prorated); valid Nov. 1, 2020 – August 31, 2021

Other options include the new prepaid multi-day pass, a Flex permit, an afternoon permit, or a night permit. More information about these options, including prices, descriptions, lot options, and how to purchase can be found in the reduced cost parking options chart (PDF).

“We are pleased to be able to offer our graduate and professional students, as well as our employees earning lower wages, a new reduced price option to park on campus,” says Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Laurent Heller. “We are grateful to our shared governance groups and academic leadership for elevating these concerns and working with us to help craft this solution.”

If an eligible employee or student has already purchased a semester or base lot permit at a higher price, Transportation Services may issue a prorated refund for the cost difference. (Note: Refunds will not cover the months of September and October, as these reduced cost options did not become available until November 5.) Please contact Transportation Services customer service at or (608) 263-6667 for more details.

The expansion of and change in costs for parking are temporary and will only be for these specified groups during the 2020-21 parking year (Sept. 1, 2020 – Aug. 31, 2021).