More students opting to not buy parking passes this year

    STU spokesperson Jeffrey Carleton said facilities management patrol campus parking lots and issue warnings to those without permits. (Aaron Sousa/AQ)

    On the second day of online school, Sept. 10, fourth-year St. Thomas University student Emma Leger parked at the University of New Brunswick library to do some work and was ticketed $20.

    Leger said she remembered from previous years that in the first week of school, there’d be a warning, or one-week leeway given to students to allow them to get their parking passes.

    “A couple days later, I went down to the security building and they told me that they actually only give the week notice to first-year students … which I was not aware of,” Leger said.

    In order to void her ticket, Leger had to buy a parking pass.

    A 12-month permit at STU is $183 and an eight-month permit, which is a typical academic year, is $124.

    In the 2019-20 academic year, an eight-month permit was $119.

    Associate vice-president communications Jeffrey Carleton said STU facilities management patrolled the campus parking lots and issued warnings to those without permits and on Sept. 21, tickets were issued.

    But on UNB’s campus, Leger said all the other cars along with hers had parking tickets on them when she left the library.

    Carleton said this year, only 20 to 25 passes have been sold, about 10 per cent of what is usually sold.

    Olivia Finnamore is one of the students who decided against buying a parking pass this year.

    “I don’t think that they should be charging students for parking passes,” she said.

    Finnamore said she doesn’t think most students are going to campus on a daily basis anyway because they don’t have to.

    “We expect to see among faculty and students people opting for the daily pass option if they want to come to campus for that day to do their work,” Carleton said.

    A daily pass is $5 and can be purchased by STU students at the UNB Security Office just like the two-term parking passes.

    Finnamore said that option is inconvenient for students.

    “My understanding of how that would work is you would park, you would walk down to UNB Security, you would pay for your pass [and] you’d walk all the way back up the hill to put it on your car,” she said.

    Finnamore said her last university had machines in the parking lot where you would put money in and your pass would print out and you’d put it on your car.

    She said she’d be more open to purchasing a daily pass if that was an option or if passes were determined by an hourly rate.

    Leger said she didn’t have as much of a choice when buying a pass because she wanted to void her parking ticket.

    “I know that the university needs to make money but our tuition already went up, our fees went up and then the parking pass fee went up,” Leger said.

    She said some students can walk to school, but that depends on the location of your residence which makes it not an option for Leger who lives around a 35 to 40 minute walk to campus.

    She said her roommate takes the bus and it’s not always on-time which makes it unreliable.

    Leger said it was unfortunate she and others were ticketed on the second day of online classes in an already tough year.

    “Especially now in a global pandemic,” Leger said.

    “Not a lot of students have a disposable income right now.”