Troubles with parking registration

Katherine Martin

Online parking registration opened Monday at midnight, and the first few hours of the sale didn’t go as smoothly as most students would have liked.

The software vendor did routine maintenance and server upgrades over the weekend, and the maintenance took longer than expected, said UA spokeswoman Cathy Andreen.

“As a result, parking registration was not available until about 4:45 a.m. Monday,” she said. “Parking Services contacted all students who registered for commuter parking permits or put their name on the waiting list on Monday to see if they could assist those students in completing their registration.”

Student parking permits increased an average of $20 for the year. Commuter permits increased from $185 to $205; residential permits increased from $240 to $260; perimeter permits increased from $140 to $150; and reserved permits increased from $420 to $450, Andreen said.

In an email sent to all UA students, the new fees reflect increased costs for additional CrimsonRide buses, expanding and creating a more efficient 348-RIDE system.

Walker Donaldson, a senior majoring in political science, said the most problematic issue was that students weren’t aware of how much parking decals were going to be until they purchased them.

Prices of parking decals were not finalized until late last week, Andreen said.

Walker said once he had already purchased his pass when registration opened at midnight, he received an email the next morning letting him know how much it cost.

“It’s pretty evident their servers weren’t working properly when it was time to buy a pass,” Donaldson said. “And opening registration up at midnight was weird; I’m in California, so I had sort of an advantage, but for those on the east coast, that’s 1 a.m.”

Channing Sleete, a junior, said she stayed up until 2 a.m. refreshing the parking services website, to no avail.

“You would think the University would figure out that when thousands of students go to the same website at the same minute, that it would crash the servers, seeing as that happened when I registered for classes too.”

Sleete said she wouldn’t be angry if it weren’t predictable.

“While I am glad they offered the option of trading in your pass for a commuter west pass, that isn’t a real solution to the registration itself, it’s just a quick fix,” she said. “Their inept planning for the most basic university tasks is really the problem at hand.”

Any student who has questions should contact the office at uapark@bama.ua.edu or (205) 348-5471.