Flex Parking Program

Flex parking program overview

Flex Gated

Flex Gated parking permits are assigned to gated parking lots. Permit holders pay for parking by adding value to their permit online before arriving on campus to park. Payment is automatically deducted from the permit when you exit the lot at the end of a parking session.

The Flex rate structure is tied to visitor parking rate schedules, but with a 20% discount on visitor parking rates. This Flex rate is applied when value is added to the permit.

Flex Gated permits are available in Lot 6, 7, 17, 29, 36, 38, 46, 67, 75, 76, 83, and 95.

After-hours parking. Flex Gated permit holders may park after-hours in surface lots where UW parking permits are valid by paying with ParkMobile. Use the zone code located on your Flex hangtag when paying through the ParkMobile app, online, or by phone. For a map of campus parking lots and hours of control, see the campus parking map.

For more information, see the Flex FAQs below, and download the Flex Gated brochure (PDF).

Flex Surface

Flex Surface parking permits are assigned to surface parking lots. Permit holders must use Parkmobile at the start of each parking session in their assigned lot.

The Flex rate structure is tied to the visitor parking schedule, but with a 20% discount on visitor parking rates. This rate is applied when you pay for a parking session with Parkmobile.

Flex Surface permits are available in Lot 2, 16, 34, 39, 41, 51, 59, 60, 64, 82, and 91.

After-hours parking. 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. For a map of campus parking lots and hours of control, see the campus parking map.

For more information, download the Flex Surface brochure (PDF).

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Flex parking rates

The Flex parking rate is a 20% discount on daily and evening visitor parking rates. Daily and evening rate schedules vary by parking lot.

The chart below shows daily and evening rate schedules for specific parking lots and garages.

Flex daily parking rate: The Flex rate is $0.80 per half-hour for the first three hours, and $0.80 per hour thereafter with a $12 session maximum at the lots, days, and times listed below.

Flex lot number Days Times
2, 16, 17, 34, 36, 38, 39, 41, 51, 59, 60, 64, 76, 82, 91, 95 Mon – Fri 7 am – 4:29 pm
7 Mon – Sat 7 am – 4:29 pm
6, 29, 46, 67, 83 Mon – Sun 7 am – 4:29 pm
75 Mon – Sun 7 am – 11:59 pm

Flex evening parking rate: The Flex rate is $0.80 per hour with a $4 session maximum at the lots, days, and times listed below.

Flex lot number Days Times
2, 16, 38, 51, 91, 95 Mon – Fri
Sat – Sun
4:30 pm – 11:59 pm (M-F)
7:00 am – 11:59 pm (Sat- Sun)
17, 36, 76 Mon – Fri 4:30 pm – 11:59 pm
7 Mon – Sat 4:30 pm – 11:59 pm
6, 29, 46, 67, 83 Mon – Sun 4:30 pm –11:59 pm
75 Mon – Sun Midnight – 6:59 am

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Flex parking FAQ

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What is the Flex parking rate?

The Flex rate is a 20% discount on daily and evening visitor parking rates. This means:

    • The Flex daily rate is $0.80 per half hour for the first three hours, and $0.80 per hour thereafter until the $12 session maximum is reached. Daily rates are usually in effect from 7 am – 4:29 pm, but this depends on the parking facility.
    • The Flex evening rate is $0.80 per hour until the $4 session maximum is reached. The evening parking rate is typically in effect from 4:30 pm – 11:59 pm, but this depends on the parking facility.

The total charge for a Flex parking session depends on the time a parking session starts, how long it lasts, and the facility you’re parking in. To see the daily and evening/weekend rate periods for specific Flex parking lots, see Flex parking rates.

Why did the Flex rate increase for the 2022-23 parking year?

A new Flex rate schedule went into effect on September 1, 2022.

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 or session maximums. 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.

One important change for Flex Surface permit holders is the Parkmobile “maximum parking time” is now 12 hours instead of 8 hours. To avoid being overcharged, it is advised to start a Parkmobile session by selecting the exact number of hours for a parking session instead of “maximum parking time.” Only choose the maximum rate if you plan to park for 12 or more hours during the daily rate period, or 5 or more hours during the evening/weekend rate period. Transportation Services cannot refund Parkmobile transactions.

How do I pay for Flex parking?

Flex Gated and Flex Surface permit holders have different methods to pay for parking.

Flex Surface permit holders use Parkmobile to pay at the start of each parking session. Learn more about how to use Parkmobile.

Flex Gated permit holders have their payment automatically deducted from their permit at the end of a parking session, when they exit their assigned parking lot. They fund their parking accounts by logging in to their eBusiness account and adding value to their permit before arriving on campus to park.

Both Flex Gated and Flex Surface permit holders may use Parkmobile to park in alternate surface lots on campus where valid UW parking permit is required.

How much does it cost to park during the daily rate period?

The below table shows the estimated cost of an uninterrupted Flex parking session during the daily rate period. It also compares the new Flex rates to the old rates and visitor parking rates.

Parking session time Old Flex rate New Flex rate Daily visitor rate Change from old 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

Parking sessions spanning daily and evening rate periods may impact the total cost of a parking session. Click the button to download a Flex payment examples sheet (.pdf file): Flex payment examples

How much does it cost to park during the evening rate period?

The below table shows the estimated cost of an uninterrupted Flex parking session during the evening rate period. It also compares the new Flex rates to the old rates and visitor parking rates.

Parking session time Old Flex rate New Flex rate Evening/weekend visitor rate Change from old 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) $5 (session max) $0.25

Parking sessions spanning daily and evening rate periods may impact the total cost of a parking session. Click the button to download a Flex payment examples sheet (.pdf file): Flex payment examples

Can I use my Flex permit to park in different campus lots throughout the workday?

No. Because Flex permits are lot-specific, permit holders may not park in alternate lots during a standard workday.

However, your Flex permit is valid 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 required.

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

  • 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.
  • 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.

Can I use my Flex permit to park in different campus lots after the workday ends (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, and therefore do not require payment, 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, Flex permit holders must pay with ParkMobile by entering the primary lot code printed on their permit hangtag, and the correct license plate number.

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

If I forget my Flex permit, what are my options to park on campus for the day?

You may purchase a temporary Flex daily permit for $12 in person at a Transportation Services office location. Click the link for Transportation Services office hours and locations.

Alternatively, you may pay for hourly visitor parking in a campus parking facility where visitor parking is available. Visitor parking is available in most gated facilities, and several surface lots have timed parking stalls that accept payment through ParkMobile. You will not be reimbursed for paying for parking at the visitor parking rate. For more information on visitor parking, see the visitor parking page.

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.

See the menus below for questions about Flex Gated permits and parking accounts.

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How do I add value to my Flex Gated permit?

  1. Go to transportation.wisc.edu/ebusiness. Login with your NetID or UW Health credentials.
  2. Navigate to “View Your Permits” and then click on your active Flex permit number.
  3. Click the “Add Value” button. Read the instructions on the “Add additional value” page.
  4. Select the value amount you want to add in increments of $5. Then click “Next” to complete the purchase process.
  5. Please note the Flex parking rate is applied when you add value to your permit.

For a detailed visual guide to adding value, download the instruction sheet How to Add Value to a Flex Gated Permit (PDF).

To estimate how much value you want to add, see the new Flex rate schedule.

You may fund your parking account with up to $60 of value ($48 cash) per transaction. Value may be added in $5 increments. 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. For example, funding your account with $48 gets you $60 worth of parking value.

How do I check my Flex Gated account balance?

  1. Go to transportation.wisc.edu/ebusiness.
  2. Click “Permits” (top menu) and select “View Your Permits”
  3. Click on the active Flex permit
  4. The next screen will show the current value on your Flex account

For a more detailed transaction history, scroll down and click the “View Activity History” button. The system will generate a PDF of parking transactions for the past 180 days, including the value of each parking session and the Flex rate you paid for each parking session.

What happens if my Flex parking account is at 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 balance at or below $0, the gate will not open. If this happens, you must pull a ticket to enter the facility and pay the visitor parking rate.

Transportation Services will not refund parking costs paid at the visitor rate, in full or in part.

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.

What if the gate doesn't open when I try to exit the parking lot?

If you try to exit a gated parking facility with your Flex permit and the gate does not open, press the “HELP” button and speak with a dispatcher to open the gate.

The gate may not open if your parking account is at or below $0 of parking value. If the gate doesn’t open due to insufficient parking funds, a balance due will be applied to your parking account to be paid later.

What happens if I leave and come back to my assigned Flex lot during the 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 move to an alternate surface lot after hours – a new parking session starts and the session maximum resets.

This means Flex Gated permit holders who exit and re-enter a parking ramp throughout the day will likely 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 move to a surface lot after hours.

See the table below for sample scenarios of how much you could pay for parking if you leave and come back to your assigned Flex lot during different rate periods.

Time of parking session Length of parking session Total estimated session cost 
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
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
Example scenario 3
3:00 – 7:00 p.m. 4 hours $4.80
7:30 – 11:30 p.m. 4 hours $3.20 (evening session max hit)
Total 8 hours $8.00

 

How can I use my Flex Gated permit for after-hours parking in alternate lots?

You may use your Flex Gated permit to park in locations other than your assigned lot for “after hours” parking. Many campus parking lots are available for after-hours parking Monday – Friday, 4:30 pm – 7:00 am, and all day Saturday and Sunday. Some lots require payment for after-hours parking, while other lots do not require payment after hours.

To find parking lots available for after-hours parking, 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 and therefore do not require payment 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. Start a Parkmobile session as soon as you start parking by entering the 5-digit code printed on your permit hangtag, and the correct license plate number. Click the link for instructions on how to set up and use Parkmobile.

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 of value in their parking accounts and will only be granted upon return of the hangtag.

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 active Flex permit.

I intended to park with my UW afternoon or night permit, but the gate charged my Flex Gated permit instead. What can I do?

Do you keep multiple UW parking permits in your vehicle, such as a Flex Gated permit and an afternoon or night garage permit?

If so, please be aware that the gate system may scan your Flex Gated permit and charge you for parking even if you intended to use a different permit. If this happens, Transportation Services cannot refund charges to your Flex parking account. You are responsible for any charges deducted as a result of keeping multiple permits in your vehicle.

Permit holders are responsible for using the correct permit to park in their assigned lot. The only guaranteed way to avoid unwanted Flex Gated charges is to remove the Flex permit from your vehicle when you don’t intend to use it for parking.

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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