Parking services is giving vehicles the boot

Nicole Stempak

Senior history major Anthony Derico and Janell Ryan unload the parking meters. Ryan says that Parking Services’ new rule of booting cars instead of towing them will be more convenient and cheaper for students. STEPHANIE DEVER | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: DKS Editors

This semester, parking services will begin booting vehicles as an alternative to towing.

“We expect to be in position to boot vehicles by Feb. 1,” said Larry Emling, manager of parking services.

Parking services is waiting for six boots, which cost an estimated $200 each, to arrive. Boots immobilize vehicles by attaching to a back tire.

Parking services will boot vehicles for unpaid parking tickets or frequent violator status, which is when a student accumulates nine or more tickets – paid or unpaid – during an academic year. Other reasons for booting are displaying a lost, stolen or altered parking permit.

If a car is not claimed by 6 p.m., parking services will tow the vehicle because the police department will not remove the boot and students must have access to their vehicles at all times, enforcement supervisor Loretta Nichols said.

Emling said one benefit of booting, as opposed to towing, is the speed of the process.

“We can check the status of the vehicle, get authorization and have the vehicles booted probably within five minutes,” he said.

Booting vehicles will allow parking services to address problems themselves, as parking services does not own any tow trucks and has to contract out towing.

“Because we use independent towing companies, it could take up to 30 minutes,” Emling said.

Last summer, parking services posed a question to other universities’ parking services offices throughout the country to ask about booting, procedures and benefits, he said.

“Twenty-one out of 24 colleges (surveyed) use booting as an enforcement technique, in combination with towing,” he said. The decision whether to boot or tow will be “a case-by-case decision.”

He said if a lot is full and parking services needs the space, they will probably tow it.

Parking services also sent some of its employees, including Nichols, to The University of Akron and Ohio State, both of which boot vehicles.

While at Akron, Nichols said they went to a parking lot, and there wasn’t one tire that was unable to be booted.

“It just absolutely amazed us because the supervisor took the boot out of his vehicles and, in a matter of seconds, it was attached to the vehicle,” she said.

Junior English major Jillian Geopfert sees booting as the better alternative.

“I think I’d rather have my vehicles on campus than towed,” she said. “If it’s going to save money then it’s a good thing, right?”

Emling estimates booting will cost students $50 whereas towing costs students an average of $100. This fee is in addition to the ticket.

Contact general assignments reporter Nicole Stempak at [email protected].