Getting to campus this fall: Virtual parking permits, more short‑term parking options and sustainable transportation options

- August 26, 2022

Above: The new short-term parking lot at the end of Alumni Crescent, across from Dalplex and next to Shirreff Hall. Below: File photo of a student getting on a Halifax Transit bus next to the Student Union Building.
Above: The new short-term parking lot at the end of Alumni Crescent, across from Dalplex and next to Shirreff Hall. Below: File photo of a student getting on a Halifax Transit bus next to the Student Union Building.

With the fall term about to begin, here's an overview of changes, updates and key information related to making your way to and from campus.

Parking permits - now virtual

The physical parking pass — the one hanging off the rear-view mirror of parked cars across campus — is about to become a thing of the past at Dalhousie.

Beginning September 1, 2022, Dalhousie Parking Services will scan the license plate of parked vehicles into a mobile device to validate a virtual permit. People who park on campus will no longer need a hangtag: virtual permits will replace those previously used for general and reserved passes.

This means that for customers who opt to pay for their virtual permit using a credit card or payroll deduction at, no additional visit to the Security House will be required. With just a few mouse clicks, people can register, pay and go. Parking passes are scheduled to go on-sale this Monday, August 29. (People can still pay with cash, cheque or debit by visiting the Security House at 1252 LeMarchant Street, and staff there are able to assist with virtual permit transactions if needed.)

“Parking fees are an important revenue source that fund critical campus operations including grounds and maintenance, snow clearing and storm cleanup,” says Joe Marando, operations manager, Dalhousie Security.

Whether shopping downtown, attending an event, or making an appointment at the hospital, paying for parking on peninsular Halifax is the reality for everyone who chooses to bring a vehicle. Dalhousie University is not exempt from this either but does offer prices that are significantly under the market rate for the area.

Members of the Dalhousie community at the Agricultural Campus in Truro will not be required to register vehicles for parking at that campus. If required to travel to Halifax campuses, they will need to purchase short-term parking options using parking meters or through the HotSpot App.

Virtual Permits are not valid in short-term parking areas.

Short-term parking options

Dalhousie Parking Services has added more short-term parking offerings in response to changes with flexible work schedules and visitor parking needs. Some members of the community may elect not to purchase annual or term permits if they only come on campus a few hours or days per week.

A new short-term parking area can be found on the west side of Alumni Crescent (directly across from the Dalplex Fitness Centre). To park here, download the Hotspot app and register your license plate and zone number or parking lot number to initiate a parking session. HotSpot also works with the new on-street parking pay stations on the streets around the Halifax campuses and throughout downtown Halifax. 

Some parking meters will continue to accept coins; however, those same hourly spaces can also be purchased through the HotSpot App. This option offers convenience by:

  • Notifying users when their meter is close to expiring
  • Giving users the option to add more time up to the maximum for the space
  • Giving users the option to cancel their session early and be refunded for any unused time  

A HotSpot membership is not required to buy short-term parking. The service offers a pay-per-use option that adds $0.20 to the cost of the individual session. Frequent users may consider other HotSpot membership options found at based on their parking needs.

Virtual permits are valid between 6:00 AM and 1:30 AM. There is no overnight parking available on campus. A select number of parking areas will continue to be free for public use between 4:30 PM and 1:30 AM.

Transit, biking, ride sharing and more

The majority of the university’s daily visitors either walk, take transit, cycle, or carpool to all of Dalhousie campuses.

Some of the transportation programs provided include student and employee transit passes (UPASS and EPASS), cycling infrastructure (including over 1,255 bike spots), a student-run Bike Centre, bike loan programs, Communauto Atlantic cars on campus, a Ride Share program including reserved parking for program participants, and more.

You can find information on all of these at the SMART TRIP website.

“Every year we try and come up with as many ways as possible to make it easier for people to leave their cars at home,” says Rochelle Owen, executive director of Dalhousie’s Office of Sustainability. “Future plans include enhanced cycling and pedestrian corridor and cycling infrastructure and more bike parking across all campuses.”

Travellers who take transit are encouraged to review the city's list of temporary service disruptions, as certain routes may not be operating depending on staffing levels.

If you do decide to park on campus, there are often unavoidable disruptions and changes throughout the year. If you’re a faculty or staff member who drives to campus regularly, you’ll want to sign up for the daily Today@Dal email where service interruptions are posted in advance.


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