Electric Vehicle Parking & Charging Policy

Updated February 2, 2019

Mission statement: The City of Buffalo, in cooperation with Buffalo Civic Auto Ramps, seek to encourage cleaner driving vehicles downtown and in the City of Buffalo in general.  To that end, 16 electric vehicle charging stations, serving 32 parking spaces, have been installed in eight parking garages.   The policy for using these stations will be dynamic and flexible as this new technology expands and usage patterns evolve.

Use of Electric Vehicle charging stations will require all users to pay for the privilege of using an electric vehicle charging station.  The majority of customers (monthly tag holders and ticket customers) will pay by the kilowatt hour using the EV connect app.  Other options include a flat rate through a 3rd party vendor and a flat rate as a reserved monthly parker.

Paying by the Kilowatt hour

            All BCAR customers are welcome to use available EV charging station spaces on a first come first serve basis by signing up through the EV connect APP to pay by the kilowatt hour.    A charge of 10 cents per kilowatt hour of electricity used will be done through the EV connect APP.    You will only be charged for the actual electricity you use.   There is no maximum or minimum on the amount of electricity you may use during any session.  Customers who pay by the kilowatt hour are NOT GUARANTEED a space to park and charge their vehicle

Paying a flat rate through a 3rd party Vendor

BCAR has partnered with Eco-carriage to offer a flat rate service to customers who wish to pay a monthly fee for unlimited charging at BCAR facilities (and other locations supported by Eco-carriage).   Eco-carriage will post signage and details of the service they provide in January 2019.  Customers using Eco-carriage are NOT GUARANTEED a space to park and charge their vehicle. 

Designated Reserved electric vehicle charging stations parking spaces

Designated reserved electric vehicle charging station parking spaces will be available on a first come first serve basis for all existing ramp customers.    A customer who wishes to have their own designated reserved space at an electric vehicle charging station will be charged the reserved monthly rate for the ramp with no additional charge for electric usage.  A numbered sign will be erected at an electric vehicle parking space and the space will be reserved for the exclusive use by the reserved monthly customer.    A maximum of 50% of available electric vehicle parking spaces will be sold as reserved monthly spaces, and will be sold on a first come, first serve basis.  A reserved monthly parker must use his/her designated space not another electric vehicle charging space.   A designated reserve space may be shared by two or more customers who can rotate in and out of the spaces as they see fit.   A designated reserve space does guarantee the ability to park and charge within reasonable limits.  While system reliability is high it isn’t perfect and a disruption to the EV charging station system can, in rare circumstances, interrupt the ability to charge a vehicle.   Furthermore, unauthorized parkers can park in designated reserve spaces blocking access to charging.  In those circumstances unauthorized parkers will be ticketed and alternative charging will be arranged if possible.  Unauthorized parkers will not be towed.  

General Policy Conditions

This electric vehicle parking policy is subject to change as usage patterns evolve.   This includes, but is not limited to: charging additional fees for electric usage for some or all classification of customers; modifying who is eligible to use electric vehicle charging stations, and varying the policy between locations based on usage patterns.  Any policy changes will be noted with signs posted near EV charging stations

All vehicles should be plugged in when parked at an electric vehicle charging station.  Electric vehicle charging station spaces should not be used as a regular parking space.  

Our initial policy is to NOT require vehicles be moved from an electric vehicle parking space after charging is complete.    This is typically required, but we recognize that most parkers are “all day” parkers and may find it inconvenient to move their car when charging is complete.    The refinements to the policy in 2019 are expected to impact customer usage patterns and the new patterns will be closely monitored.  If “supply and demand” are in synch than we will continue to not require vehicles move.  However, if demand significantly exceeds supply we will implement the following steps on a ramp by ramp basis. 

Step 1: Request people to move.  If/when deemed necessary signs will be posted requesting that all cars parked at EV stations before 10am move their vehicles by 1pm.  If this is effective in creating the necessary turnover then no further steps will be taken. 

Step 2: Require people to move .  If/when deemed necessary signs will be posted requiring that all cars parked at EV stations before 10am move their vehicles by 1pm.   A BCAR employee will note make/model and plate numbers of “morning” vehicles at about 10am.  If those vehicles remain in an EV charging space during the next vehicle check at 1pm they will receive ONE WARNING before being issued a $60 parking without consent ticket.   “Afternoon” vehicles are required to vacate the parking space by 8am the next day. 

*EXPLANATION: You may be thinking why would people move their cars if it is only “requested” that they do so?   The thinking is that people do not want to be REQUIRED  to move their cars, which means moving everyday, no exceptions or risk an expensive ticket.   If most people move their cars, most of the time under the “request” edict than everyone avoids the much more troublesome “required” edict.  

A brief summary of rules for parking will be posted at all electric vehicle charging stations and are available on our website www.bcarparking.com.   New in 2019 a phone number will be provided at all locations for customers to TEXT problems or concerns for local support with charging stations.  This local support number (TEXT ONLY) can assist with charging station issues (“please contact customer support”, “no MCU communication”) as well as parking space issues (unauthorized parkers, etc).    Please TEXT when needed and BCAR staff will address the problem as soon as they are able to.   Support through EVconnect App and phone number will still be needed to address account issues with EVconnect and potentially other connection issues.   

Electric vehicles will be allowed to charge ONLY at electric vehicle charging stations.  Parkers charging at electrical outlets located in the ramp will be given one warning before receiving a ticket for parking without consent.  We are exploring creating level 1 charging areas for 2019 and will notify customers if/when these areas are created.

Please contact Bill Witnauer with any questions or concerns regarding this policy.  (716)849-5812 ext 315 or wwitnauer@bcarparking.com

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