Frequently Asked Questions - Parking and Transportation Operational Changes due to COVID-19 

In response to the challenges that we face right now, here are Frequently Asked Questions surrounding COVID-19 and transportation at the U of M:

General QuestionsParking Questions  |  Transit Questions  |  Fleet Services Questions

General Questions

Q: Is PTS Customer Service open?

A: PTS is working remotely as much as possible. Emailing parking@umn.edu is the best way to reach us  with questions and concerns. Starting the week of April 20, PTS customer service desk will be open for in-person visits on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m. (desk closed from 11 a.m. - noon).  Appointments outside of these days/hours is on an as-needed basis; fill out an Appointment Form for PTS Customer Service Visits to set up/request an appointment. 

Q: Will parking lots and ramps be open or closed?

A:   All parking facilities are open except Lot 108. Lot 108 is closed to public parking - use Lot 101.

Q:  Why is parking even considered an essential campus service?

A:  Our public and contract parking operations serve the activity of both University and non-University customers like Fairview Hospital. This means for the operation, security, and safety of our community, we have made an intentional decision to continue operating parking facilities with most of the controls done remotely. 

In addition, the current environment has led to a number of changes. For example, we have worked to assist our essential employees who need additional parking access by expanding the reciprocal parking options. This allows those essential employees to park where they need. We have also made arrangements for those who are no longer able to come to campus by bus and who now need to drive and park.

Parking Questions

Q: I need temporary parking due to the COVID-19 situation. What are my options?

A: There are a couple of options for you.

  • Occasional Use Contract:

  • Special contract:

    • From now until COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.

    • 24/7 access to Gold Lot, East River Road Garage, Oak Street Ramp, Washington Avenue Ramp, or Gortner Avenue Ramp.

    • Cost: $74/month. Payroll deducted (U of M Staff/Faculty), student accounts receivable, or billed (non-University employee who needs to access campus for a business purpose)

    • Fill out an Appointment Form for PTS Customer Service Visits to set up a contract. 
  • Park in daily rate lots for $5: 

    • Review locations here.

Q: I have a parking contract. Where can I park?

A: Parking contracts will remain available for use. Additionally, the reciprocal privileges traditionally only offered on nights and weekends will be available 24/7. Learn more about reciprocal parking here.

Hangtag contract holders parking in structured facilities should pull a ticket at the entry, push the silver button, and give the call center representative their hangtag number. If a hangtag customer has multiple issues with this method, a keycard can be issued. 

Q: I will not be on campus.  Can I get a refund on my parking contract?

A: PTS is working to understand the complexity of this unprecedented time for our campus community and how that relates to the service we provide. We want to ensure parking facilities remain operational for those who need them. For those essential on-campus employees coming to provide essential services, parking is available with extended reciprocal access. With very few exceptions, your parking keycard will allow you entry into all contract facilities and your lot hangtag will allow you to park in any contract lot.    Our goal is to support the ongoing efforts of staff who are on campus and make their jobs as easy as possible.  

Suspending Staff/Faculty Parking Contracts
  • Eligible University of Minnesota employees received the information below in an email dated 04/14/20 from Parking & Transportation Services.
  • University of Minnesota Physicians (UMP) employees should email contract parking questions to benefits@umphysicians.umn.edu.

  • Fairview manages contract parking for its employees through its parking office and is not included in the parking contract suspension process. Contact the Fairview Parking Services Office at 612-273-7278 or parking@fairview.org for information.

As of April 13, University of Minnesota employees who are contract holders on the Twin Cities campus may choose to suspend their parking contract while the University is in extended reduced operations status with only essential employees on campus. If you choose to suspend your parking contract, you will be able to restart the same contract once the requirement to work remotely is lifted. 

To suspend your parking contract, complete the Contract Suspension Request Form. Please note that it may take 1-3 payroll cycles for the change to be reflected on your paycheck.

Update: For contract holders who submitted this form before April 24, you should see a credit on the May 6 or May 20 pay date, pending no issues with the payroll process. Those who submit the form after April 24 are likely to see that credit in June. 

Accounts will be adjusted so that employees are not charged for a time period equivalent to the suspension period, which begins March 18 and which will continue until University President Joan Gabel cancels the requirement to work remotely.

This contract suspension is suspending charges, not the ability to use the parking keycard or hangtag. Parking keycards/hangtags, and reciprocal privileges, remain active even for those who's parking charges are suspended.

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There are many significant financial impacts occurring across the University due to COVID-19. The option to suspend parking contracts will present a challenge to maintaining the current parking rate while also continuing to fund important programs on the Twin Cities campus that are supported by parking revenue. Some of those programs include campus transit and the bike program, and campus infrastructure like streets, sidewalks, and plazas. If you wish to leave your parking contract in place to help the University cover these costs, no action is required. Thank you for considering this option.

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If you have been designated and informed that you are a University of Minnesota essential employee who needs to come to campus, you may also choose to suspend your parking contract. If you choose to suspend the contract, your parking credential will remain active, but you will not be charged to park.

Prior Staff/Faculty Parking Contract Cancellations

For anyone who has canceled their parking contract between March 18 and April 13, the cancellation has been processed and a new parking contract will have to be started. Please complete the Contract Reinstatement Form by April 30, so we can provide you with a new parking contract in the same facility when the directive to work remotely is canceled. If you have not yet mailed your keycard to us, keep it in a safe place until on-campus operations resume. If you’ve already mailed your keycard to us, we will issue you a new one. Contract holders in a hangtag facility will receive a new hangtag in the mail.

Canceling Staff/Faculty Parking Contracts

If you wish to permanently cancel your contract, please complete the Contract Cancellation Form. You will then receive a confirmation email with more details. NOTE: This option does not allow you to automatically restart your contract when on-campus operations resume. Also, the ten-day waiting period to cancel your parking contract is being waived and your contract will be cancelled as of the date the form is submitted online.  To CANCEL your parking contract, log into the cancellation request form using your internet ID and password. Then, send your hangtag/keycard to PTS at: 300 Transportation & Safety Bldg, 511 Washington Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455. Staff and faculty members who choose to cancel will receive a prorated refund for service not consumed about 4-6 weeks after cancellation. If you need to keep your contract parking, please follow the instructions above on suspending your contract.

As all PTS office locations are currently closed and staff is working remotely due to the extended reduced operations directive, parking contract processing may be delayed. Thank you for your patience and understanding during this time.

Please find updates and changes with the PTS News/Alerts page and the Safe Campus website.

While these are extraordinary times, PTS is a self-supported department and is working to ensure the University’s parking facilities are prepared for the resumption of normal operations by continuing to maintain safe, clean, and well-maintained parking and to help reduce the need for future rate increases.

Important Notice Regarding Student Parking Contracts
  • As approved by the Board of Regents on April 3, the Comprehensive Student Fee Refund Plan provides students who have a spring semester parking contract with 100% of their parking fee credited from March 16 to the end of their semester contract. Parking & Transportation Services will be processing credits this month.
  • Those who had already requested a cancellation of their contracts via email prior to March 28 were processed.
  • If you are still using the parking facilities and want to maintain your parking contract, please complete the Maintain Student Parking Contract Form by Friday, April 10. We will keep your contract active and your student account will not be credited for parking.
  • Note for Radius apartment residents: Radius parking is not managed by the University. Students that are moving out will be allowed to cancel their Radius parking contracts with a 30-day notice. Contact radius@umn.edu for details.
  • For additional Housing & Residential Life questions, please visit the HRL website for details.
  • Thank you for your patience and understanding during this time of uncertainty.

Q: How will I see the refund on my parking contract?

A:  Please be aware that parking payroll deductions will continue to be taken out of every paycheck going forward as usual. PTS will issue a separate periodic credit on a future to-be-determined pay check (up to 3 payroll cycles in the future).

Update: For contract holders who submitted the Parking Contract Suspension Request form before April 24, you should see a credit on the May 6 or May 20 pay date, pending no issues with the payroll process. Those who submit the form after April 24 are likely to see that credit in June. 

The first credit for parking will represent service from March 18 thru April 30 (the first credit will represent individual customer's parking rate for a full month of April plus 14 days of March).

Review the sample paycheck below. Please note, the amounts will vary, dependent on your parking contract location.

PTS will issue additional credits as time passes and evaluate the amount of additional credit due next at the end of May. For example, if the University continues in "required to work remotely mode" the full month of May, customers will get an additional full month credit in June on a to-be-determined paycheck.

The suspension of service credit begins on March 18 and continues through a future yet to-be-determined date. Thus, the final full value of service credit is still unknown.

Q: Is there an option to suspend a parking contract through the summer for 9-month employees? 

A:   At this time, this unique parking contract suspension is allocated for the duration of the remote work requirement. If this directive remains in place during the summer session, this option will be extended -- parking contract holders cannot apply them at other times or determine when they are to be used. 
Q:  What is happening with the waiting list?

A:  While we are in Extended Reduced Operations, the waiting list will not be filled until campus returns to normal operations, due to reduced staffing requirements. PTS will only fulfill new contracts that are in response to the situation, which are called COVID-19 contracts, offered to essential personnel. Anyone on the waiting list that currently has a contract can use it at any facility. Anyone who is on a waiting list who doesn’t currently have a contract can start a COVID-19 contract.

Q:  Do I have to be an essential employee to suspend my contract? 

A:  No, any University of Minnesota employees can choose to suspend their parking contract regardless of whether they are working onsite, remotely, or both.

Q:  I suspended my contract. Can I still use my keycard or hangtag?

A:  Yes, you may use your parking contract as you normally do even if you do not pay. This applies to all University of Minnesota employees regardless of whether they are working onsite, remotely, or both. You do not need to notify PTS that you are using your parking. 

Q:  If I suspend my contract, do I lose my spot on the waiting list?

A:  No, your waiting list status will not change if you choose to suspend your parking contract.

Q:  If I suspend my contract, do I get my same parking spot back?

A:  Yes, if you suspend your contract, you will get the same parking spot back when regular operations resume.

Q:  Can I have an extended suspension or suspend during a different time?

A:  No, the suspension is a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Once we are in regular operations, you will no longer have the option to suspend a parking contract and will need to follow the regular cancellation process. The suspension is from now until the remote work mandate is lifted.  The suspension is not based on when classes return to campus.  It is based on when the University faculty and staff no longer are required to work remotely.

Transit Questions

Q:  Will city bus routes continue to serve campus?

A: Metro Transit is operating the buses and light rail.  Visit Metro Transit’s webpage for updates on service. Metro Transit has announced that it will reduce service on March 25. Learn more here: https://www.metrotransit.org/reduced-service-march-25.

Q: Will University buses continue to run on campus?

A: University buses will run on a reduced schedule. Watch https://www.pts.umn.edu/news for more details.

Starting on Monday, May 18 until Friday, June 5, campus transit service is changing:

    • Extended Campus Connector route will operate Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

    • East Bank Circulator will not run

View a map on our GopherTrip app on your mobile device or click this link to a web-based desktop view: http://umn.rider.peaktransit.com/ (note: you will need to select the bus route labelled 121 Campus Connector COVID19 and/or 120 East Bank Circulator to see the routes currently in service).

Q:  Why do you continue to operate campus transit when no one is using it?

A:  The University transit system still has riders, and we take our responsibility to help provide transportation options for the University community very seriously. We have essential employees, as well as students and patients, who may rely on campus transit to get to and/or around campus. We have moved to reduced campus transit service that includes Campus Connector and East Bank Circulator routes and suspended paratransit service as of March 23. 

Q: Paratransit is not operating. What can I do?

A: Check on availability of Metro Transit’s Metro Mobility. Please note that you will need to register to use this service. Consider using University transit (all buses are wheelchair lift equipped) if possible or a TNC service like Lyft or Uber. If possible, for current parking contract holders, we will try to make special, temporary parking accommodations. Send an email to pts@umn.edu.

Q:  I’m concerned about the cleanliness of the campus buses.  What are you doing to keep them safe?

A: The safety of our community is our top concern.  The company that runs the University buses has increased health and safety measures beyond their usual activities.  Enhanced cleaning and disinfection procedures are in place now.

Q: I will not be on campus.  Can I cancel my Metropass?

A:  Email buspass@umn.edu to request a cancellation with your name and employee ID number.  You may receive a prorated refund for service not consumed about 4-6 weeks after cancellation. Note: you can repurchase your Metropass at anytime. 

Q: I will not be on campus.  Can I get a refund on my U-Pass?

A: Email buspass@umn.edu to request a cancellation. You will receive a prorated refund for service not consumed about 4-6 weeks after cancellation.

Fleet Services Questions

Q: My department rents vehicles from Fleet Services.  Will that be available?

A: Fleet is renting vehicles for approved essential travel.  Rentals must be requested 24  hours in advance through our rental system.  No walk-in requests will be fulfilled.

Q: I need to cancel a Fleet rental reservation.  Will I be penalized?

A:  No penalty/cancellation fees will be assessed to any customer who is cancelling future reservations due to COVID-19.

Q: I’m concerned about the cleanliness of rented University vehicles.  What are you doing about my concerns?

A: Every rental vehicle has always been cleaned in between rental reservations.  Our Fleet staff has added enhanced cleaning and disinfection of returned rental vehicles to further minimize risks to our customers.

Q: My drivers license is expiring.  What do I need to do?

A: You can find good information on common drivers license questions at the Department of Vehicle Services.