Frequently Asked Questions 
About 2011 Parking Technology Upgrade

Parking & Transportation Services is upgrading the technology at our parking facilities.  This move to automated pay machines will be a significant cost-savings to our department.  During the current economic challenge, these efforts will help PTS to continue the programs and services we offer and to keep parking rates low.

Note: this information is subject to updates.


Coupon instructions & Sample Tracking Grid: Prepaid versus Dept


Who does this affect?

This technology upgrade will affect drivers to campus who use public parking. It will affect departments who make reservations and pay for visitor’s parking fees. Contract holders should see no change. It will not affect those who use meters, loading zones or official university vehicle spaces on campus.

What does this mean to me?

It means that after an initial trial timeframe, parking attendants will no longer be required in locations using this equipment. Availability of reservations and VIP stamp programs will change because an attendant won’t be there to check visitors off a list or input a stamp number into the computer.

What does this mean for my visitor?

For visitors, parking will not change much.  They will still pull a ticket as they enter the parking ramp or garage.  When they leave, they will insert that ticket into the machine at the exit and pay by either credit/debit card or cash. Checks will not be accepted by automated pay machines.

If a department either paid for parking or provided a discount to visitors, that department will give the guest a coupon. This will allow for the same service provided before.

Where is this happening? What locations on campus will get the new equipment?

PTS started with a pilot program in the 21st Avenue Ramp in late summer of 2011.

Location When Automation 
21st Avenue Ramp - West Bank Summer 2011
Lot 37 - East Bank February 2012
Art Museum Garage - East Bank February 2012
Oak Street Ramp - East Bank April 2012
Gortner Avenue Ramp - St. Paul April 2012
4th Street Ramp - East Bank May 2012
East River Road Garage - East Bank July 2012
University Avenue Ramp - East Bank July 2012
Washington Avenue Ramp - East Bank August 2012
Church Street Garage - East Bank August 2012
19th Avenue Ramp - West Bank August 2012
Maroon Lot - East Bank August 2012
Victory Lot - East Bank October 2012
Lot 86 - West Bank October 2012
Lot 94 - West Bank December 2012
Lot 106 - St. Paul December 2012
West Bank Office Building Ramp/C98- West Bank February 2013
Lot 101 - St. Paul February 2013
Lot 104 - St. Paul June 2013

All of the parking ramps and garages, along with a few of the parking lots, will be converted to automated pay exit equipment.

Why are you doing this?

This technology is not new within the parking industry and is used extensively in downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul as well as at the Twin Cities airport. You have probably noticed the expanding auto-pay options that are available at local gas stations, grocery stores and hardware superstores.

Again, this move to automated pay exiting equipment will be a significant cost-savings to our department.  During the current economic challenge, these efforts will help PTS to continue the variety of programs and services we offer as well as enable us to keep parking rates low.

How are you telling the University community about this?

We will be releasing news via multiple methods (two examples are mass emails and notices in Brief).  We will also include updates online on this page.  Feel free to bookmark it and check back regularly.


When will the VIP stamp no longer be accepted?

Departments with VIP stamps were asked to turn in their stamps and exchange them for parking coupons or vouchers that allow the same service that they offer now. VIP stamps were discontinued on July 1, 2011 and replaced with coupons.

If the VIP stamp program is going away, how will departments accommodate parking for visitors to campus?

The new system will offer two options:

1 - High volume users will have departmental coupons that are billable through EFS.

2 - Low volume users may buy prepaid coupons (paid parking for visitors).

How do you determine high volume versus low volume?

PTS will review your department’s previous use of the VIP stamp program and decide based on those numbers.


How many coupons can a department get?

PTS will provide departments with a supply based on their past use.

Can you get the coupons within a few days of ordering them?

Yes.  Coupons can be picked up or delivered via courier service within one business day. 

Do you need to order coupons per month or per year?

Customers will be able to order coupons as needed via an online form (similiar to reservations).

Do coupons expire?


Are coupons something that we need to pre-mail to our visitors before they come or can we give them to them before they leave the University?

Your department can mail them out ahead of time or hand them out at your office/event.  


How will a department pre-purchase coupons?

Departments will fill out an online form asking for a certain quantity of prepaid coupons.  PTS will print the request and the department can pick them up or have them couriered to your office.

How will the prepaid coupon work?

Visitors will still pull a ticket as they enter the parking ramp or garage.  When they leave, they will insert that ticket into the machine at the exit AND they will follow it up with the coupon.  Your department can mail them out ahead of time or hand them out at your office/event.

How are the prepaid coupons paid for? 

PTS encourages that departments purchase these coupons with an EFS chartstring.

How much do these coupons cost?

There will be two levels of coupons:
$6 for 0 to 4 Hours
$12 for 4.01 to 24 hours

Are the coupons for set increments (if so, what are they) or are they for actual charges?

The $6 voucher coupon will be valid for parking for up to 4 hours.  The $12 voucher coupon will cover an individual’s parking for up to 24 hours. 

Is there an additional administrative fee per order of coupons or for each coupon?


Will the coupons work in ALL parking facilities?

Yes, the prepaid coupon will work in all public University of Minnesota parking facilities. Note: Fairview Patient/Visitor Ramp is NOT a U of M parking facility.


Parking reservations are available in the Church Street Garage on East Bank.

For all other parking locations, the new system offers prepaid coupons to allow departments to continue to provide paid parking for visitors. These coupons can be picked up at our office or delivered for you using a University courier at your department's expense.

To place an order for prepaid coupons, individuals will need to fill out a simple form online.

During special events on campus, parking facilities often collect fees as customers enter the ramp (NOT at the exit). In these instances, your guests will need the prepaid coupons before they arrive on campus (keep this in mind when planning your communications/mailings). Event parking attendants will accept coupons during events as if they were cash.

If this is a problem for your event, please send an email with as many details as possible to Dillon Fried, Parking Events Manager.

Find out about events affecting parking on campus at our Event Calendar.

Safety Is A Top Priority

Our mission has always centered around the safety of those accessing the University of Minnesota campus. That is not changing with the automation of parking facilities.

While it is true that attendants will not be at each location, there are cameras and call buttons at each exit. Each automated pay machine has a button to reach our main office and a camera at the exit so that our staff can view what is happening.

Additionally, PTS has emergency call buttons in elevator lobbies and stairwells that connect directly with the Department of Central Security.

Security cameras on campus, including those located throughout parking facilities, are monitored 24 hours a day by the Department of Central Security.