Parking woes continue

The price of parking passes increased by nearly $20 this year, much to the dismay of students who still can't find a spot. (Hady Assouad/AQ file photo)

Now that a branch of the New Brunswick Community College joins Fredericton’s College Hill, some students at St. Thomas University don’t seem to be enjoying the ride – the park and ride, that is.

And for Ben MacLean, a third-year psychology major at STU, the price for a campus parking pass doesn’t help the situation.

“It is a steep price for something that isn’t even guaranteed,” MacLean said in a phone interview Saturday morning.

Parking passes at both STU and UNB have increased from $125 to $144 for students and from $75 to $94 for faculty.

According to an email sent out by Lawrence Durling, vice-president finance and administration at STU, the price increase has to do with the high demand for the parking spots on campus now that NBCC-Fredericton is open.

Most students and faculty at STU would agree that finding a parking spot on the STU campus is often intangible. A driver may roam around the Holy Cross and Vanier parking lots, but is fully aware that a free spot is rarer than acing the first paper of the year.

So the only other option is to drift to the overflow parking lot behind the Wu Centre – and right next to the new NBCC-Fredericton.

In August, Bill MacLean, director of facilities management at STU, told The Aquinian that an additional 100 parking spots had been created for students in anticipation of NBCC-Fredericton’s opening.

He also said he didn’t expect campus’ traffic flow to change because the 290 NBCC students start their day earlier.

But Ben MacLean isn’t so sure, especially once a Maritime winter hits.

He says during past winters, the Wu Centre parking lot has been so full that drivers didn’t recognize where there weren’t parking spots and ended up getting ticketed.

This year, he heard that cars would be booted, so he didn’t want to risk not getting a parking pass despite the price increased.

Living on the Northside of Fredericton, the third-year student feels like he doesn’t have much choice but to drive to school every day. He just wishes it could be easier.

“I’d be willing to pay $100 if parking was guaranteed,” MacLean said.

In the past, the university has admitted that it does sell more parking passes than parking spots available.

“A long-standing issue has also been the fact that the annual cost of maintaining campus parking facilities is two to three times the revenues received through the sale of parking passes,” read an email about the pass price increase, sent out by Durling.

“Under this [new] plan, STU, UNB and NBCC parking pass holders will be able to park in all lots throughout the campus consistent with their pass entitlements.”

Parking passes are available to purchase at the UNB Security Office in the Wu Centre.

This is STU’s first parking pass increase in three years.

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