Benchmarking & FAQs

Benchmarking & FAQs

How Our Rates Compare

Unreserved On-Site Parking:

Location Type Current Rates
Harvard Medical School 24-Hour Garage/Surface $3,823.08
BU Charles River Campus 24-Hour Garage/Surface $2,678.00
BU Charles River Campus Commuter Garage/Surface $1,882.40
Northeastern University Faculty/Staff $1,900.00 - $4,295.00
MIT Faculty/Staff Commuter $1,900.00
Lesley University Faculty/Staff Commuter $816.00 - $2,040.00

Commercial Parking:

Location Type Current Rates
Smith Center Garage 24-hour $6,060.00
Harvard Square Garage 24-hour $6,000.00
Church Street Lot 24-hour $4,200.00
Charles Hotel 24-hour $5,400.00
University Place 7-Day $4,140.00


Benefits of Payroll Deduction

The cost of a Harvard parking permit can be reduced by up to 35% if it is paid for through automatic payroll deduction. The Internal Revenue Service allows employers to exclude the cost of parking for eligible commuting employees from state and federal payroll taxes. This means that when you use payroll deduction your Harvard parking permit fee is subtracted from your gross earnings before taxes are applied. This is similar to other tax-deferred deductions such as medical insurance and 403b investment plans. Depending on your income tax bracket, this results in net savings of up to 35% off the cost of your parking. The pre-tax limit for 2022 is $280.00 per month.

For example:
A staff member purchases a yearly unreserved surface parking permit through payroll deduction. Although the annual permit fee is $2,532.00, this amount is deducted before payroll taxes. Thus, the net cost will be approximately $1,646.00 - a tax savings of $886.00!

Please refer to the following table for examples of how pre-tax savings compares with net cost.

Pre-Tax Savings Table

Permit Type Current Rates Estimated Net Cost w/Payroll Deduction
Reserved Garage $5,094.00 $3,311.00
Reserved Surface $4,794.00 $3,116.00
Unreserved Garage $2,724.00 $1,771.00
Unreserved Surface $2,532.00 $1,646.00

Other benefits to choosing payroll deduction include:

  • The FY20 cost of parking for most commuters choosing payroll deduction will be approximately $5.88 - $8.29 per day (average 21 working days per month).

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Are Parking Rates Going Up?

Harvard's academic mission has driven extensive campus development on sites formally used as surface lots. The cost to replace parking underground is in excess of $100,000 per space. Compared to open surface lots the cost to operate and maintain these new facilities is significantly higher.

How Much is the University Paying?

Funding for the parking operation, which includes the new parking infrastructure, comes from three sources; an infrastructure fee assessed on all new development, a yearly fringe benefits contribution, and increased parking rates. The combined contribution from the University(infrastructure and fringe benefits) will cover more than half of the expenses for parking. The permit holder will pay the remaining balance.

Can We Increase the Number of Parking Spaces?

While the City of Cambridge zoning requires that parking be provided in the approval process for any new building, other Cambridge regulations effectively limit the growth of parking in the City. Since the late 1980s, Harvard has been subject to a cap on the number of parking spaces allowed in Cambridge. Similar institutional master planning requirements exist in Boston for the Allston Campus.

What Are My Options if I Choose Not to Park?

Transportation Services offers a myriad of commuting options through its CommuterChoice program. Some alternatives to driving alone include carpooling, vanpooling, biking, and Zipcar privileges. In addition, the self service Daily Parking Permit purchasing system is available to employees who need to drive to work occasionally.

Will Rates Increase in the Future?

Parking rates are directly related to the cost of operating the parking operation. The operation includes managing the Parking Office as well as the construction and renovation of the parking infrastructure. With additional capital development and restoration planned for the years ahead, the costs to operate the parking operation will continue to increase. Parking rates will be reviewed each year in consideration of all these factors.