Overselling of parking passes leads to shortage of spots

Alex Tinline

The overselling of Kent State parking passes is leaving many students without a place to park for the Fall 2017 semester.

“Everyday in the Verder (commuter) lot, people are parking in the fire lanes, making their own spaces because they don’t have time to drive to different sides of campus,”  said Christen Miller, a senior communication studies major, “especially with the construction closing a major road that helps you quickly get to the other side of campus. At times, I risk the parking ticket and park in whatever lot I can.”

According to Kent State University’s Parking Services database, there are approximately 28,900 students and 4,000 faculty and staff currently on the Kent campus. Campus offers 11,300 total parking spaces.

“If we sold one to one (same number of spots to students), the campus would be empty every day because just not everybody is here,” said Larry Emling, the Parking Services manager.  “There are so many variables that come into play when you sell permits. It’s not a perfect science you kind of go based on past history, trends that you see develop over time, changes that are forthcoming for a parking area.”

Kent State Parking Services offers 22 different commuter parking passes are designated for certain lots around campus. A common commuter pass is offered to all students, no matter their class standing, is the Summit East pass.

This pass costs $80 a semester and $155 for the academic year. Students with this pass can only park at the lot located on the corner of East Summit Street and Horning Road near State Route 261.

“Tuesday is our busiest day of the week,” Emling said. “So we plan our sales based on peak time on a Tuesday, but that might mean Monday, Wednesday, Friday, those (parking) lots are empty because if I sell more it could impact Tuesday because I can’t sell by class schedule.”

Kent State parking passes are sold online on the Parking Services website; however, many students are turning to an alternative means to purchase and sell campus parking passes.

The Kent State Facebook page is a source for many students to post questions, look for roommates or sell unneeded textbooks and, now, parking passes.

“I went on the page (Facebook) because I desperately needed a pass,” sophomore business management Jake Byers said. “I felt like it was sketchy, but I did it anyway because it was cheap and I was naïve.” 

According to Kent State’s university policy regarding parking regulations, “Kent State University parking permits may only be sold by and purchased from Parking Services exclusively and cannot be resold.”

“Unfortunately what is happening is people aren’t really selling their permit,” Emling said. “They are selling a permit and where they get that permit is the big question because, quite honestly, we have been going and targeting these lots for lost and stolen permits because that permit that somebody is selling on the market to somebody probably has been reported lost to us by somebody else.”

Many students are at risk of being booted, towed or facing legal repercussions for selling their passes secondhand.

“If you just bought a fall permit for the first week or two, we give a 100% refund and it’s prorated down until the 5- or 6-week mark. At that point, there is no refund,” Emling said. “And if you bought a full year permit, you can return it next January and get the whole credit for the spring refunded.”

All information about where to buy and sell parking passes can be found on the Kent State Parking Services website.

Alex Tinline is the parking and transportation reporter. Contact her at [email protected].