EDITORIAL: Better prices are U.’s ticket to improving
Parking permit costs for students should be lowered
Last semester, The Daily Targum reported that Rutgers University issues an estimated $5 million in parking tickets each year. This semester, the Department of Transportation gave some insight as to where this lump sum of money ends up.
When students pay for their parking permits or parking violations, the money that is paid ends up within the budget set aside for the Department of Transportation, which is used to “increase traffic efficiency.” This is only the case when students get tickets issued by the University. But when students pay for parking meters, the money goes to the City of New Brunswick.
The tickets that are given out by the University are given under a general education law to ensure the protection of the University’s property. These prices are pretty standard in terms of regular city prices. The price of a ticket can range almost anywhere from $20 to $300, which would be the fine for using a fraudulent or stolen permit. The price of the permits, on the other hand, is somewhat appalling. For residents living on the New Brunswick campus, a permit costs $275 annually. But this does not take into account those students who live off-campus. These students are considered “commuters,” as they do not live in Rutgers housing, and therefore can end up paying $375 a year. Even with these high prices, student permits are not readily available on the College Avenue campus. Representatives from the Department of Transportation have expressed that this is because doing otherwise would result in an influx of traffic. But they have said that they are targeting this through plans to build nine new parking structures. This is part of the University’s 15-year plan entitled “Rutgers 2030,” where Rutgers hopes to initiate many changes to the transportation system among other aspects of the campus.
Based on the plan, it seems as though the University is doing all it can to give students the best possible situation in terms of parking on campus. But with revenue from parking tickets within the millions, it would not be far-fetched to say that much more can be done.
As is the case with many universities nationwide, students are being charged ridiculously high amounts to pay for campus parking. And at Rutgers, this parking is not even always on the campus that a student resides on.
The problem with the system is that it goes in a nonsensical circle: There are limited parking spots, which lead to students parking illegally. These students get ticketed and the money flows into the Department of Transportation, which promises to use the money to improve parking but does not completely fulfill these promises. A 15-year plan to improve the campus sounds great until one focuses on the fact that 15 years is a lot of time. The problem with parking is immediate and affecting students now.
The amount of money that students pay for permits and tickets should be enough to make a difference. There needs to be a better distribution of funds, especially one that does not seem to drain the pockets of students who are already paying a hefty price for tuition. The University must better accommodate to the needs of those students who use their cars on campus. Either Rutgers must try to create more lots in the near future where students can park on their actual campus, or they should lower the price of student parking permits. For $375 a year, students need to be offered more than one parking spot on an out-of-the-way campus and the chance of accumulating more tickets due to this lack of parking.