Parking Services may change how permits are bought

Dave Yochum

Parking Services began releasing additional permits at 8 a.m this morning, giving students who have yet to purchase a pass or those wishing to upgrade one a chance to do so.

Currently, permits for Summit East, Allerton, Stadium and Evening and Weekend are the only available, due in part to the 500 walk-up purchases made Jan. 17. In response to the long lines and frustrated students who couldn’t get the permit they were hoping for last week, Parking Services will attempt to make lines and in-person purchases a thing of the past within the year.

“One of our goals is to get to the point where you have to buy permits online or with different computer terminals set up near the Michael Schwartz Center or at computer labs across campus,” said Larry Emling, assistant manager of Parking Services. “Students could then just walk up and purchase passes using the Internet instead of standing in long lines.”

Changing the permit-buying process could help alleviate the unnecessary stress of waiting in line to buy a permit. It could also allow students unable to get to the Michael Schwartz Center a chance to obtain a permit after Parking Services closes at 5 p.m.

According to Emling, nearly 1,200 people walked up during the first few days last fall wanting to purchase permits, something he doesn’t suggest doing for those who want a popular pass but don’t want to stand in line or be disappointed.

“Most people don’t wait until the day of a concert to buy their tickets,” reasoned Emling. “All of the good seats would be gone by then – just like parking permits.”

As for those who waited until the last minute to buy a permit this semester, Emling said many students have been citing the economy as a factor in delaying their purchases.

“This semester we’ve had a lot of students walk up to purchase permits who didn’t know if they would even still be in school this semester,” Emling said. “Some weren’t sure if they could afford it.”

While Emling expressed optimism that a new system for purchasing permits could cut down on waiting time and complaints, students such as sophomore Tom Novak question if taking away the option to buy permits in-person is the right way to go.

Novak, a justice studies major, points out Kent State’s Internet isn’t always reliable and could cause problems for those buying permits online.

“There could be issues with Kent State’s Internet service or problems with the Web site,” he said. “I’m against the idea.”

Along with his friends, another concern of Novak’s is how much money it would cost the university if more machines were installed to order the permits.

To find out what new permits are available, visit the Parking Services web-site at http://www.kent.edu/parking.

Contact transportation reporter Dave Yochum at [email protected]