Parking and Transportation to close IMU parking office as UI turns to more online transactions

University of Iowa Parking and Transportation announced it will permanently close the Iowa Memorial Union office as online transactions take over.


Emily Wangen

The parking and transportation office, located in the IMU parking ramo, is seen on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019.

Alexandra Skores, News Editor

The Iowa Memorial Union Parking Office will be permanently closed beginning Dec. 23 and relocate to the West Campus Transportation Center.

In a memorandum to campus partners, Lori Skoff, the UI manager of parking services, announced in a memo to campus partners that the UI campus has shifted to mainly using parking services online. The added online transactions has reduced the need for two physical office locations.

An evaluation from parking services of 2018 and 2019 transactions showed that less than 4 percent of financial transactions out of a total of 15,426 occurred at the IMU location, according to the memorandum, and there was a significant decrease in customer traffic outside academic peak times. On average, five transactions were completed each day at the IMU office in fiscal 2019 outside the start of the academic semester.

The IMU parking ramp has been open since 1969, and the Parking and Transportation office opened shortly after in 1972. The UI then opened the West Campus Transportation Center in 2013 to allow IMU office to serve as a secondary parking services location, Skoff said in an email to The Daily Iowan.

As for IMU office employees, Parking and Transportation Communications Manager April Wells said the full staff will now all be based in the West Campus Transportation Center. Wells also said no positions will be eliminated in this process.

“Staff currently rotate between the offices and the services provided are the same at each location,” Skoff said. “Routine work duties will not change, but staff will at times be available now to assist customers in pop-up style help stations. We already often accommodate student, staff, and faculty needs by physically attending outreach events or orientations. With one office, we can better focus our efforts to meet campus partners’ needs by having the flexibility to bring our services to their locations more frequently.”

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Parking and Transportation Associate Director Erin Shane said in an email to The Daily Iowan that the same services are provided at the IMU and West Campus Transportation Center location.

“Because most of our services for payment or enrollment in our programs are offered online, we’ve seen significant decline in the amount of in-person service requests at the IMU office and has reduced the need for two locations,” Shane said. “Our online services include paying citations, ordering a permit or bus pass, a waitlist for faculty and staff, call-in program, van-pool program, and updating vehicle information.”

The West Campus Transportation Center was designed to provide all of the parking and transportation amenities customers need, the memorandum said. Wells said there are still conversations surrounding plans for the empty IMU office space.

Skoff and Shane said the goal behind the transition would be to better serve the UI community through one location.

“We operate a lean customer support team that is dedicated to meeting campus needs,” Shane said. “Moving all customer service staff to one location will increase the efficiency and level of service we can provide. As technology has advanced, so have our online offerings and we will be continuing to improve these services and technologies in the future.”