During the summer of 2019, it was announced that all parking passes would be sold online.
This decision was most likely made after students lined up outside the Parking and Transportation Office overnight the year prior. The website was launched at 10:00 a.m. on August 1st, 2019, but crashed soon after.
The website was down for hours. Most people were not able to successfully secure a pass until much later in the day. Others were not so lucky and have had to find other methods of parking their cars near campus. Or if they wanted to park on campus, they would have to compete with passholders for spots, and then pay $15 for a full day of parking.
For the people who did get a parking pass, there are still major problems. For the students willing to shell-out the money, they can park in the reserved underground CCT parking lot. For the students wanting the cheapest option, there is the unreserved parking pass that permits passholders to park in P4, P8, or P9. The first two are multi-level and right next to each other, in front of the RAWC. Parking Lot 9 is smaller, one level, and closer to the library.
With the recent construction that slightly expanded the one level part of P8, one would think that the students and staff of UTM with these unreserved parking passes would have no problem parking. They would, if staff member and student didn’t have to be on campus at a high-volume time, or if there weren’t any events on campus. If, say, a Get Experience Fair was happening, promising 1000 students the same well-paid summer job, I think the parking lots would be a bit fuller. So full, that multiple cars would have to drive around for half an hour to look for spots, or even take up parking on the grass in some instances.
Now, there have been rumours of over-selling of these unreserved parking passes, which wouldn’t be so bad if everyone who bought a parking pass wasn’t at school five days a week. But some people are, and unreserved shouldn’t mean “oh well you don’t get a spot if there aren’t any.” Even if there are warnings on the parking websites, why should a person who drives be prevented from attending their expensive classes when their expensive parking pass gets them nothing?
If the cheapest parking pass is over $700 for a full year of parking, and apparently cannot guarantee a spot on any given day, there needs to be a change. If there is already a problem with parking for students, staff, and faculty at UTM, it must be even harder for guests.
If any changes are to be made, they should be made for the division of parking lots. Section out space for staff, space for students, and space for guests. How can we claim our school is accessible when only people who can pay $1200 for a yearly parking pass are guaranteed a parking spot?
A tip to anyone in a parking spot: if you’re headed back to your car to leave school and see the parking lot is full and there are lots of people waiting around for spots, how about we get a move on? It doesn’t take long to get situated and take off. A tip to anyone looking for a parking spot: keep moving! You’re more likely to find someone leaving their spot when you drive around then if you stay idling in one row (and idling isn’t good for the environment).