Parking prices have gone too far

Jinnie Christensen

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Much like tuition rates do each year, the cost of parking on or near campus has risen ever steeper, putting a higher toll on students and faculty alike. Students living on campus have to pay $360 to park on campus, which is ridiculous given the already high cost of on-campus housing. The most expensive parking passes can cost up to $600 for a single year. These rates are alarmingly high for a university. Even students living off campus who want to park closest to their classes have to pay around $300 per year for parking. This may seem slightly more reasonable at $150 per semester. But, with weekends, and days off of class removed from the equation, the average commuting student will be on campus 80 days per semester, that is, if they have class all five days per week. Many students do not, which makes the pricing even more ridiculous. This added cost is even more unreasonable considering students are already paying to attend these classes.

Living far off campus is a more cost efficient choice for many students, due to the higher rates of rent near campus. Yet, these students who obviously are trying to be more cost efficient get hammered with high prices for these parking passes. This only hurts them more financially, because these individuals have to pick between the lesser of the two prices.

Obviously, faculty deserves guaranteed close parking spaces near to their offices, so the need for passes in this instance is understandable. However, it is extremely ridiculous for faculty members to have to pay for their own parking, which takes a significant amount of their earnings, and the current zoning system is bad for both faculty and students. It discriminates against students who simply cannot afford the high rate for areas near campus. Students who cannot afford to park closer to campus will have to take more time to get to class, which decreases the amount of time that they could spend studying and learning.

At other public universities throughout the state, such as Auburn University, students pay significantly less for their parking. Taken from Auburn’s parking services website, “Parking zone registration cost this year will be the same as last year which is the following: Graduate B, C, and RO are $80; RD, RH, RT, RW, PC1, PC2, PC3, and PC4 are $180; and RX is $120.” Their parking rates are nearly half the price of the rates here at the University of Alabama, despite the two schools having nearly the same cost of attendance.

The University of Alabama seriously needs reforms to the cost of parking on campus. There should be more availability and less discrimination against students who cannot afford the high rates. Students living on campus should not have to pay such a high rate to park, when they are already paying a high rate to live on campus. The simple solution would be to cut costs within the parking services department, which could be done if there were less differences between parking zones, which would require less enforcement.