Parking rates go up

By Stephen Rudolf

Once upon a time, on the land where it still is now, Lot Ten parking cost a dollar. Just ten years later, rates have more than tripled and, on Thu., May 1, will creep up a quarter more to $3.50 per single entry, with similar increases across campus for per-entry lots and monthly passes.

“It sucks, but I pay the price–it’s the cheapest lot on campus,” said third-year geology student Bryce, who chose not to disclose his last name.

Students and staff who drive to school have few other options for parking–none of which are as convenient as parking on campus. Many are concerned about the rationale behind the increases and the allocation of parking fees.

“[Current prices] are still seen as a good deal when compared to other schools or the price of a bus pass,” ancillary manager Peter Fraser explained.

Parking services has a revenue obligation to university administration. Fees not only pay for the resources to maintain parking spaces and pay staff, but also put money into the general university fund. That revenue obligation, a substantial part of total parking revenue, is reinvested into scholarships, programs, and student services and was started years ago with support from the Students’ Union and Grad Students’ Association to limit tuition increases.

“If the university didn’t have it, more money would come directly out of students’ pockets,” said Fraser.

University administration is holding a parking and transportation review this fall, allowing students concerned about campus parking services to attend open forums and share their opinions as the university plans for the next twenty years.

Other, less expensive options exist for parking. Since the U-Pass program was implemented a few years ago, students can use Calgary Transit Park-n-Ride lots such as Brentwood or Dalhousie and take the train to school. However, higher rates of vandalism and full lots by 8 a.m. make this a risky practice. Students can also make friends with local residents, but city parking authority will often catch offenders, eventually.

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