Flex Parking Program

Flex parking in the 2022-23 parking year

Program and rate changes are coming to the Flex program in the 2022-23 parking year starting September 1. Those interested in applying for a Flex permit for the upcoming 2022-23 parking year can choose a Flex Gated or a Flex Surface permit. See below to learn for information about the program change, an overview of each permit type, and the new rate schedule going into effect for all Flex permit holders starting September 1, 2022.

Flex Gated overview

Flex Gated parking permits are assigned to gated parking lots. Permit holders will not need to use ParkMobile to pay to park in their assigned lot. Instead, funds are added to the Flex permit online before arriving on campus to park. Funds may be added in advance for multiple days of parking.

Payment is deducted from the Flex Gated permit when you exit the lot at the end of a parking session.

The new Flex rate structure taking effect September 1 are tied to visitor parking rates. The Flex parking rate is 80% of visitor parking rate. The Flex rate is applied up-front when funds are added to the permit. For example, adding $12 to the permit will get you $15 worth of visitor parking value.

When you accept your offer for a Flex Gated permit, you will pay $12 up front. These funds will be applied to your Flex permit and may be used to pay for parking. You will also receive instructions on how to add funds to your Flex permit online.

Flex Gated permit holders may park after-hours in surface lots where UW parking permits are valid by paying with the third-party vendor, ParkMobile. Use the zone code located on your Flex hangtag when paying through the ParkMobile app, online, or by phone.

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Flex Surface overview

Flex Surface parking permits are assigned to surface parking lots. Permit holders will continue to use ParkMobile to pay to park in their assigned lot at the start of each parking session.

Due to the new Flex rate structure starting September 1, permit holders accustomed to choosing the “max rate” for an 8-hour-plus parking session should instead choose the exact number of hours they plan to park for a session. See below for a chart for a rate schedule.

Flex Surface permit holders may park after-hours in alternate surface lots where UW parking permits are valid. Use the zone code located on your Flex hangtag when paying through the ParkMobile app, online, or by phone.

 

FAQ: Flex parking in the 2022-23 parking year

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Why are Flex rates increasing?

Starting in the mid-2000s, the Flex parking program was structured to charge users 80% of visitor parking rates. This rate structure provides a discount on daily visitor parking and at the same time creates an incentive for people to use active or alternate modes of transportation to commute to campus.

Transportation Services did not raise Flex rates in 2020 due to the response to COVID-19. As a result, Flex rates have not increased for 10 years or kept pace with visitor parking rates. Now that campus operations have stabilized, Transportation Services and campus administration have agreed a Flex rate increase is timely and appropriate to restore the program’s goal to reduce the number of single-occupancy vehicles on campus.

The rate increase varies depending on how long your parking sessions last. This is because both the Flex rates and the payment schedule are changing. The new rates and payment schedule will match up with the daily visitor parking rate schedule, but with a 20% discount. This means Flex users will pay $0.80 per half hour for the first three hours, and $0.80 per hour thereafter. See the chart below for a few examples of how much Flex parking might cost for a standard workday (7 am – 4:30 pm, Monday – Friday) and associated percent increase:

Length of parking session Current Flex rate New Flex rate (starting Sept. 1) Percent increase
7 hours $7.00 $8.00 14%
8 hours $8.00 (current daily max) $8.80 10%
9 hours $8.00 (current daily max) $9.60 20%

For a full table of hourly rate charges, see the new Flex rates chart.

Why is the program being split into Flex Gated and Flex Surface?

Under the current Flex model, the ParkMobile payment system and gated lot entry/exit systems are not directly linked. This can lead to scenarios where the time paid for a parking session in ParkMobile does not match the parking session recorded by the gate system.

By linking the Flex Gated permit directly to our gate system, Flex Gated permit holders will no longer need to use ParkMobile to pay for a parking session in their assigned gated lot. Instead, payment will be deducted from the permit upon exiting the lot. As a result, Flex Gated permit holders should experience a more streamlined parking process.

Additionally, many Flex users encounter problems using ParkMobile to pay for a parking session in their assigned gated lot. For example, some people experience connection issues paying with the ParkMobile app while in an underground parking facility. Because the gate system will deduct payment from the permit when the permit holder exits the lot, there will not longer be a need to use ParkMobile in gated lots.

Because surface lots are not equipped with gate systems, Flex Surface permit holders will continue to use ParkMobile to pay for each individual parking session as before.

Can I use my Flex permit to migrate between different campus lots throughout the day?

No: because your Flex permit is lot-specific, permit holders may not park in alternate lots during a standard workday. (You may use your Flex permit for “after hours” parking between 4:30 pm – 7 am Monday – Friday, or all day Saturday/Sunday in a lot where UW parking permits are valid. See the questions below for more information about after hours parking.)

If you need to park on different locations on campus throughout the day for work purposes, here are some options:

  • You may avoid additional Flex parking costs by using a UW service permit. Please contact your department or work unit to see if service permits are available for work purposes.
  • You may apply for a business alternate permit to park in one alternate campus lot. For more details on business alternate permits, see the permit types and information page.
  • If you need to park on different locations on campus throughout the day for non-work related reasons, you may find available hourly parking in a gated lot or timed parking stall. For more information see the visitor parking page.

If I’m a Flex Gated permit holder, what happens if I exit and re-enter my assigned parking ramp in the same day?

Because the Flex Gated permit is tied to the gate system and the visitor rate schedule, any time you exit and re-enter a parking ramp – or if you move to an alternate surface lot after hours – a new parking session will start. Therefore, if you exit and re-enter a lot in the same day, or move to a surface lot after hours and start a ParkMobile session, the session maximum rate will reset to zero. As a result, Flex Gated permit holders who exit and re-enter a parking ramp throughout the day will pay more to park per day in comparison to those who do not exit/re-enter the ramp throughout the day.

Keep in mind the Flex parking schedule includes a “daily” session maximum and an “evening” session maximum. The overall price you pay could vary depending on the time you re-enter a ramp, how long each parking session lasts, or if you migrate to a surface lot after hours. See the table below for sample scenarios.

Time of parking session Length of parking session Daily parking cost with new Flex rates (starting Sept. 1, 2022) Daily parking cost with current Flex rates Daily cost difference with new Flex rate schedule
Example scenario 1
8:00 – 10:00 a.m. 2 hours $3.20
10:30 am – 4:30 pm 6 hours $7.20
Total 8 hours $10.40 $8.00 (session max hit) +$2.40
Example scenario 2
8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. 4 hours $5.60
1:00 – 5:00 p.m. 4 hours $5.60
Total 8 hours $11.20 $8.00 (session max hit) +$3.20
Example scenario 3
3:00 – 7:00 p.m. 4 hours $4.80 $4 (trip charge)
7:30 – 11:30 p.m. 4 hours $3.20 (evening session max hit) $3.75 (evening session max hit)
Total 8 hours $8.00 $7.75 +$0.25

 

How do I use my Flex permit to park in alternate campus lots after hours?

You may use your Flex permit to park in locations other than your assigned lot for “after hours” parking. To find these lot locations and their hours of control, see the campus parking map:

  • The yellow lots on the campus parking map show lots where you can park with your Flex permit in ParkMobile paid status 4:30 pm – 7 am, Monday – Friday, and all day Saturday and Sunday.
  • The green lots show locations that are not enforced 4:30 pm – 7 am Monday – Friday, and all day Saturday and Sunday.

When parking after hours in a yellow lot where UW permits are valid, you must be in paid status with ParkMobile. When parking in a yellow lot after hours, all Flex permit holders must pay with ParkMobile by entering the primary lot code printed on their permit hangtag, and the correct license plate number. You must be in paid status after hours in yellow lots because these lots are remain reserved for university business, and therefore remain under control.

When parking after hours in a green lot, you do not have to display a permit or make any payment with ParkMobile.

Can Flex Gated permit holders receive refunds?

Flex Gated permit holders may return their permit for a refund before July 1. Refunds will only be issued to customers with more than $10 in their parking account. Refunds will only be granted upon return of the permit. Any balance remaining on a parking account when permits expire at the end of a parking year (August 31) will be forfeited.

Flex Gated permit holders are responsible for tracking the funds in their parking accounts. It is recommended that permit holders spend their accounts down to a zero balance between July 1 and August 31 to avoid forfeiting a remaining balance. Check your account balance by logging in to the eBusiness portal and selecting your Flex permit.

How much value can I add to my Flex Gated parking account at a time?

Flex Gated permit holders may fund their parking account with up to $60 of value ($48 cash) per transaction. Value may be added in $5 increments to give permit holders greater control over their parking account. Funds may be added to the parking account by logging in to the eBusiness portal and selecting the Flex permit.

Permit holders may add value to their accounts to cover multiple days of parking. You may carry a maximum of $240 in value (or $192 cash) at a time.

Reminders:

  • Flex Gated permit holders must pay for parking before they can enter their assigned lot.
  • The Flex parking rate is a 20% discount on visitor parking rates. This discount is applied up-front when you add funds to your account. This means funding your account with $48 cash gets you $60 worth of parking value.

What happens if my Flex Gated account has a zero or negative balance?

You must have a positive account balance to enter your assigned parking ramp.

If you attempt to enter your assigned lot with a negative balance, the gate will not open. If this happens, press the “help” button for assistance.

If you enter your assigned parking ramp with a positive balance but your account runs down to zero or a negative balance during the parking session, you will be allowed to exit. If the gate does not go up when you try to exit with a negative balance, press the “help” button for assistance. The attendant will let you out and apply the correct charges to your account. You will not be able to enter the lot again until you pay off the negative amount and restore your account to a positive balance.

How do I pay for Flex disabled parking?

Customers with a Flex disabled permit must always pay with ParkMobile using zone code 25099, whether their permit is assigned to a gated lot or a surface lot.

Will Parking & Transit Accounts still be available to help pay for Flex parking?

Yes: Parking & Transit accounts will continue to be available for UW System employees. These accounts allow eligible employees to pay for certain parking and transit expenses with tax-free dollars. These funds in a parking account can be used to pay for work-related parking expenses, including Flex payments. For enrollment details and more information, visit the UW System’s Parking & Transit accounts webpage.

2022-23 Flex parking rate schedule

Starting September 1, 2022, the Flex parking rate structure will change and parking fees will increase for all Flex permit holders.

The below rate schedule shows the cumulative amount charged for Flex parking sessions starting between 7 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. on weekdays.

The new Flex rate schedule is tied to the daily and evening visitor rate schedule. For gated lots, the rate schedule may vary depending on the gated facility. For a list of rate schedules in gated facilities, see the 2022-23 rate chart.

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Daily rate schedule for Flex parking starting September 1

Parking session time Current Flex rate New Flex rate starting Sept. 1 Daily visitor rate Change from current Flex rate
30 minutes $4 (trip charge) $0.80 $1 $(3.20)
1 hour $4 (trip charge) $1.60 $2 $(2.40)
1 hour 30 minutes $4 (trip charge) $2.40 $3 $(1.60)
2 hours $4 (trip charge) $3.20 $4 $(0.80)
2 hours 30 minutes $4 (trip charge) $4 $5 $0
3 hours $4 (trip charge) $4.80 $6 $0.80
4 hours $4 (trip charge) $5.60 $7 $1.60
5 hours $5 $6.40 $8 $1.40
6 hours $6 $7.20 $9 $1.20
7 hours $7 $8 $10 $1
8 hours $8 (session max) $8.80 $11 $0.80
9 hours $8 (session max) $9.60 $12 $1.60
10 hours $8 (session max) $10.40 $13 $2.40
11 hours $8 (session max) $11.20 $14 $3.20
12 hours $8 (session max) $12 (session max) $15 (session max) $4

Evening and weekend rate schedule for Flex parking starting September 1

Parking session time Current Flex rate New Flex rate starting Sept. 1 Evening/weekend visitor rate Change from current Flex rate
1 hour $0.75 $0.80 $1 $0.05
2 hours $1.50 $1.60 $2 $0.10
3 hours $2.25 $2.40 $3 $0.15
4 hours $3 $3.20 $4 $0.20
5 hours $3.75 (session max) $4 (session max) $4 (session max) $0.25

Flex rates and payment for the 2021-22 parking year

The rate schedule below will remain in effect for all Flex permit holders through August 31, 2022.

Day Time Trip Charge Hourly Charge Max
Monday – Friday 7 a.m. – 4:29 p.m. $4 for first 4 hours $1 / hour after 4 hours $8
Monday – Friday 4:30 p.m. – Midnight None $0.75 / hour $3.75
Saturday – Sunday 7 a.m. – Midnight None $0.75 / hour $3.75

Rates begin upon entrance and end upon exit. There is no grace period. The charge is hourly; you must pay for the entire hour you are in the lot, even if you are only there a portion of that hour.

You are responsible for any charges from your cellular service provider or fees from your credit card company.

Flex parking is free on State of Wisconsin legal holidays, including: New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve.

Rate maximums

  • If you pay for parking during the day and reach your $8 max, there is no additional charge if you park for the rest of the evening.
  • If you begin your parking session before 4:30 p.m. and do not reach your daily maximum, your rate per hour will switch over to the evening rates after 4:30 p.m. You will not pay more than the $8 daily maximum.
  • If you begin parking after 4:30 p.m., you will pay the evening rates and you will not pay more than the $3.75 evening maximum.
  • Example Flex payment sessions (PDF)

How to park and pay with ParkMobile

Important update: these guidelines will remain in effect for all Flex permit holders through August 31, 2022.

  • You must display your permit AND pay via phone, web, or mobile app to park lawfully. You must create an account with ParkMobile to pay for parking.
  • You are responsible for:
    • knowing the lot’s hours and being in paid status during the lot’s hours of control,
    • using the correct location code, and
    • paying for the correct license plate.

You cannot retroactively pay ParkMobile for missed payments.

A Flex permit is valid in your assigned lot only between 7 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on weekdays. Outside of those hours and all day on weekends, Flex permit holders can use their permits in certain other campus parking lots. A Flex permit may be used in “controlled at all times” lots when they are open to any valid UW permit (4:30 p.m. – 7 a.m.), but the permit must be displayed and the vehicle be in paid status using the zone code from your primary lot. If a lot is open to the public after enforcement hours, payment is not required.

How to select parking time

If paying online or in the mobile app, the system will prompt you to choose the number of hours to park OR to select the daily maximum. If you intend to park 8 hours or more (for sessions beginning before 4:30 p.m. on weekdays OR >5 hours after 4:30 p.m. on weekdays/weekends), it is important to select the daily maximum to be shown in paid status beyond 8 hours. If you select a flat 8 hours, you are only in paid status for 8 hours from the time you start the session.

When paying over the phone (not via the app), the system will tell you the max number of hours available to park. Select the maximum if you intend to park beyond the lengths of time described above.

Flex parking lots and payment codes

You can also find Flex lots and codes on the Flex parking map. Hours of control are on the lot locations and hours page.

Flex Lot Garage / Ramp Name ParkMobile Zone #
2 25002
6 HC White Garage 25006
7 Grainger Hall Garage 25007
16 25016
17 Engineering Drive Ramp 25017
29 North Park Street Ramp 25029
34 25034
36  Observatory Drive Ramp 25036
38  Microbial Sciences Garage 25038
39 25039
41 25041
46 Lake and Johnson Ramp 25046
51 25051
59 25059
60 25060
64 25064
67 Linden Drive Garage 25067
75 UW Hospital & Clinics Ramp 25075
76 University Bay Ramp 25076
82 25082
83 Fluno Center Garage 25083
91 25091
95 Health Sciences Garage 25095
Disabled 25099

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