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Tampa General Hospital changed its parking and valet rates this month and began offering free off-site parking and shuttles. The changes aim to make parking more affordable, fair and convenient for visitors and patients, said Cheryl Eagan, hospital senior vice president. Tampa General does not expect to make additional revenue from the changes.

Previously, TGH charged an hourly, scaled rate that went up to $8 daily. Valet service was free for certain patients, including the disabled and people about to undergo certain procedures. For everyone else, the service cost $10.

A customer survey prompted hospital officials to change the fees at the start of May, Eagan said. Currently:

-Parking is free for the first hour but a $3 flat rate afterward.

-Valet parking costs $5. There is no charge for patients with various disabilities, including those undergoing rehabilitation. Valet service for emergency room patients remains free.

-TGH is offering free off-site parking and a shuttle service for patients and visitors. The hospital has acquired about 500 parking spaces in and around the 200 block of S Hyde Park Avenue, near the Davis Islands bridge. Shuttles to and from the lot run every 15 minutes between 5:30 a.m. and midnight Monday through Friday. After-hours transportation to the off-site lot can be arranged through hospital security.

TGH's garage holds 4,600 cars. Hospital officials estimate that more than 10,000 cars park on the hospital campus every day. For more information on parking or directions, go to