LA JOLLA (NEWS 8) – The new parking rules at Westfield UTC will begin at the end of January when the mall starts charging shoppers and employees for parking.

The first two hours of parking will be free, but after two hours it will cost $2 per-hour. It is believed that most patrons are not expected to be affected.

Additionally, those who work for online food delivery services such as Postmates, Doordash or Grubhub are not expected to be affected because of the first two free hours of parking.

Westfield UTC confirmed to News 8 that another reason they are charging for parking is because many of the parking spots are taken up by UC San Diego students who do not want to pay for campus parking.

Hundreds of cars are parked at Westfield UTC while their owners leave the property. The planned addition of a new regional transit center and trolley station is also expected to contribute to an influx of individuals who could use the center as a place to park.

Perhaps the most controversial aspect of the new parking fees are mall employees having to pay for parking.

Mall employees will have to pay to park, but their cost will be different. They'll have a choice to pay $5 a day or purchase a monthly parking pass for $75. That still comes to $900 a year for mall employees – some who are working for minimum wage.

Westfield UTC said employers will have the option to purchase parking passes for their employees. Westfield UTC also said it will provide interested store employees a 50 percent subsidy on the cost of a monthly transit pass – that means UTC will pay $36 of the $72 monthly cost to ride MTS to work.

Westfield UTC emailed the following statement to News 8 the morning of Friday, January 11, 2019:

UTC tenants and employers have the option to purchase monthly or daily parking passes for their employees. If not purchased by the employer, individual employees may purchase the passes themselves. Westfield UTC is able to provide interested store employees a 50% subsidy on the cost of monthly public transit passes (Westfield UTC will subsidize $36 of the $72 monthly expense) on the San Diego MTS.

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