A spiralling student line inside and outside the Mississauga Alumni House on Monday, August 9, was a sight that UTM’s Parking and Transportation Services didn’t foresee this year. Students endured hours (in some cases more than five) in the summer humidity and sporadic rainfalls for their opportunity to purchase a parking permit of preference.
On the first day to apply for and purchase Annual Permits, students wondered about the unavailability of the usual online application system, a process that enables students to buy permits online with up to three business days before they can be picked up at the Parking and Transportation Office.
On and before August 9, the Parking and Transportation website announced that the system was experiencing issues with the ongoing upgrade.
When asked why these issues were not resolved before the parking pass purchase rush
on August 9, Parking and Transportation Services replied, “We were working on the online purchase system but ran into unforeseen issues with the authentication process (i.e. UTORid) and the hosted payment site.” Online sales went live on August 10 at 4 p.m. Before the system became accessible, August 10 saw students once again lining up to purchase a pass. “I went early this year because they ran out of annual permits last year,” said student Sunny Bahia, who waited three hours in line on Tuesday. “It’s ridiculous how you have a line that long and only two people serving you.”
“One reason why a longer line was experienced was due to many students’ concerns of not being able to purchase a specific parking permit (last year we did sell out of parking for students),” wrote Parking and Transportation Services via email. “The Parking and Transportation Office closes at 4 p.m. during the summer months but remained open until 8 p.m. on August 9 to accommodate the students already waiting in line. Many students were grateful for this and provided the front-line parking staff with positive feedback. With the parking deck construction, we feel our supply will meet our demand.”
Since campus construction began in 2009, over 400 spaces have been eliminated, with only 1,302 parking spaces available this year. Said Parking and Transportation Services, “The new parking deck is almost complete. We were informed that the lower portion of the deck will be available September 7. This will make available 490 spaces. The second level is scheduled to open on September 27 and this will add 291 additional spaces. This will bring our total capacity to 2,083 parking spaces.” However, there are currently “no plans to create more parking spaces in the future.”
There was further confusion with the permit application’s listing of lot 1 as “Temporarily Unavailable.”
“Faculty and staff purchased prior to August 9 and, as a result, the lot reached capacity,” responded Parking and Transportation Services. “A number of spaces were not available for sale at that time due to construction; once these spaces free up, we will make more permits available. Currently, there is a waiting list for this lot.”
Since permits are allotted on a first come, first serve basis without guaranteed availability, Bahia feels that the parking situation at UTM is “way too hectic”.
“It might free up a bit this year because of the double deck,” said Bahia regarding his parking experience at UTM, “but Underground parking is reserved, and sometimes you can’t find a space in it—you have no choice but to pay for parking somewhere else, when you’ve already spent so much money on a parking pass.”
When comparing permit prices of the 2009/2010 school year to the current 2010/2011 school year, there is an evident increase. For instance, the 2009/2010 pamphlet lists the Annual Student Premium Unreserved Permit (valid in lots 2, 3, 4, 8, and 9) as $592.20 (tax included). As listed on the updated Parking and Transportation website, the same permit (minus lot 2, which is permanently closed due to construction) costs $609.97. However, the 2010/2011 prices do include the new Harmonized Sales Tax.
Other Annual Permits available to students this year includes the Student Unreserved Permit ($590.19), which is valid in lots 8 (across from the Wellness Recreation and Athletic Centre) and 4 (off the Outer Circle Road, between lot 8 and the pond). Also valid in lots 8 and 4 is the eight-month Sessional Permit ($491.82) and the four-month Sessional Permit ($245.91). The annual Faculty/Staff and Student Reserved Parking Permit ($854.69) is valid only in lot 1 (outside the North Building), lot 5 (near the Main Entrance, located between the Putnam Place and Leacock Lane residences), or the CCT Garage (entrance beside the Academic Learning Centre).
As well, annual Car Pool Reserved Permits allow carpooling vehicles to park in designated
carpooling spaces: Premium Unreserved carpooling passes (valid in lot 9, entrance off Outer Circle Road) are priced at $609.97 and Reserved passes (valid in lots 1 and 5) as well as the Reserved Garage permits (valid in the CCT underground lot) cost $854.69. As stated on the Parking and Transportation website, all annual permits are valid all day from
The website further announced that “as of August 31, 2010 at 8 a.m., all permit purchases must be made in person at the Alumni House.” For permit fees, the Campus Map of Parking Locations, and parking updates please visit the Parking and Transportation website at www.utm.utoronto.ca/parking.