Transportation Services may rule the University

Have you ever returned to you car 20 minutes after the meter expired, only find a ticket tucked under your windshield wiper?

This ticket was compliments of transportation services, part of Facilities Planning and Maintenance.

What you need to know about FP&M is that it is a force of its own. They have a large and opaque budget which seep into almost every auspice of the university.

TS is one of the major auxiliaries housed under FP&M. Their revenue comes from parking tickets and parking passes.

They have made the news lately for their mismanagement of SAFEwalk.

As you may know, the SAFE program has long been an issue of contention. Traditionally funded in part through segregated fees and part through the TS budget, ASM and TS have long battled on what are the most effective Safe programs and who is going to pay for them. Click here, or here, or here.

What is has emerged is a brokered agreement where students pay for the SAFEcab, at about $120,000, TS pays for SAFEwalk, and they split SAFEride, and the rest of the campus bus service, totaling about $800,000.  

Even if they have an agreement, that doesn’t mean that the relationship is amicable.  Last year, through new budgeting software, TS was able to “jet” the entire amount from the segregated fee budget at the beginning of the year.  Besides the fact that they did not receive any authorization, this move cost students thousands in interest revenue, which would have been generated if we would have paid in quarterly invoices. 

(For the record, FP&M continue to use this practice, despite requests to submit invoices like every other organization)

ASM also signed a memo of understanding with TS, agreeing to pay 100% of the administrative costs for SAFEcab and 50% of the administrative costs for SAFEride.  In 2007-2008, these costs amounted to $5,000 for SAFEride and $41,200 for SAFEcab.  

For the next fiscal year, TS requested $22,900 in administrative costs for SAFEride and $91,100 for SAFEcab.  Following these huge increases, TS was stubborn to provide specific rationale for these numbers.  It became known that this money was being used, in part, to hire a new marketing director for the SAFE program, which students neither requested, nor agreed to.  

ASM did cut these requested amounts significantly (to $8,100 and $62,100, respectively), but that does not detract from the move from TS to charge students for expenditures they did not authorize.  

When hearing about the debacle with SAFEwalk, I am not surprised in the slightest.  The hostility that TS has shown to students and student involvement is obvious and often palpable.  


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