Parking Services: no bang for the buck

Students were probably very surprised this week when they ripped open the envelopes containing their parking passes. And it wasn’t because they got their “S” pass.

Included with the pass was a neon yellow sheet that explained some of the new parking regulations.

Visitor parking … tag warnings … parking fine increase … parking fine increase?!

As if the lofty fines the university was already charging weren’t enough, the Board of Trustees voted to increase the price of parking tickets. It now costs $15 for the first two tickets, $35 for tickets three through eight, and $50 for tickets nine and above.

It has been said this increase is meant to stop students from parking in the wrong areas. That would be fine, if that were the real reason.

The Parking Services Web site explicitly states that all their funding comes directly from parking pass sales and parking fines as they are not supported through the university or tuition. So why would they try to quash their only source of income?

They aren’t. Let’s get real here.

Parking Services says they have 7,100 parking spaces allocated to students. This would be fine and dandy, except that Kent State has more than 23,000 students enrolled. Sometimes parking is a major issue, and students do what they have to do to park and get to class on time. And when they park illegally, Parking Services cashes in by placing one of its lovely yellow envelopes on their windshield. Only now they’ll be making $5 to $20 more per ticket, depending upon whether students pay their fines on time.

As if the parking ticket business wasn’t enough, it was also decided to raise the price of parking passes.

If only the value of all of our worldly goods increased like Kent State’s parking spaces, then maybe we could actually afford college. eBay, anyone?

They raise tuition; they raise parking price prices; they raise the cost of tickets. But are we seeing any benefits from this? Hardly.

We pay more and more, yet we never see any changes. Our parking experience hasn’t improved from year-to-year. The only thing that’s different is the price. If you’re going to rape us with higher prices, Parking Services, at least give us more bang for our buck. How about waterproof envelopes to resolve the problem of soggy parking tickets? Or perhaps free coffee and hot cocoa for the freshmen stuck in the stadium lot while they wait hours for PARTA to actually hire enough staff and send a bus for them.

If Parking Services is going to ask for extra money, it should make improvements and let the students see that their money is actually going to easing the parking situation, not maintaining the status quo at a much higher price. And then, quite possibly, students won’t snarl at the yellow-vested employees scampering through the parking lots. But only then.

The above editorial is the consensus of the Summer Kent Stater editorial board.