College Parking Issues: A College Student’s Worst Nightmare Posted byJohn Hall May 4, 2015April 13, 2023 By CampusDiscovery I read an article the other day on how Chapman University now auctions off its most valued parking spaces. Yes, you read that correctly; they hold an auction. The system began in 2009 and has been well-received, according to the university’s website. The bidding starts at $1,270 and decreases $20 every 30 minutes. Students place a bid for either the current price or the highest price they are willing to pay. Once the auction ends, winners pay the lowest winning bid and an additional $300 fee. In the case of a tie, the winner is determined by time of bid. The system is designed to give students who pay the premium price a better chance at actually getting into a premium space, no matter when they arrive on campus. This reminded me of my tortured college parking issues at college. I, too, purchased a premium pass, thinking I would be assured a space close to my classes and easy to locate. Ah, how naïve I was. What I did not know, and most schools don’t willingly disclose, is that they oversell these spaces. The rationale behind this is that students come and go, have different schedules (times/days), and sometimes even skip class (say it isn’t so). Unfortunately, while this looks good on paper, in practice it completely fails. For the majority of my years on campus, I spent my time ‘stalking’ students in the parking lots. This is where you pick out a student heading to the lot, hoping desperately that he/she is actually leaving. You have to make sure that no other cars have spotted the ‘prey’ and also hope that the person isn’t simply retrieving something from his/her vehicle. When you are on the other side of the equation, it can be a bit nerve-racking (especially at night) to have a stranger slowly following you in a dark vehicle. Over the semester, departing students start to play games with you, too. On more than one occasion, I have followed someone only to have him/her skirt through the row and lose the space. Forget road rage, I was in parking purgatory. I have lost track of how many hours I spent circling lots for premium spaces and how many times I barely arrived to class on time. I wish, before plunking down a good chunk of money on a premium pass I was hardly ever able to use, someone had shared with me some of the wisdom I have since gained. So, in the spirit of helping others, I give to you my reasons for NEVER buying a premium campus parking pass again. Premium parking is extremely expensive. The difference between a general pass and a premium pass at my schools was about $240. That’s a lot of Taco Bell and Starbucks! With these college parking issues, instead of spending 30 minutes searching for a space, I could have slept in or met up with some friends before class. Carpool instead – make new friends, save money, get in a short nap and take advantage of the perks offered at some schools to those who share rides! Purchase a bus pass. It is super cheap, and you’ll get more exercise. Buy a bike for less than $200 (including chain & lock) and never worry again about finding a space or the price of gas! As colleges get bigger in size and student populations grow, the college parking issues headache is bound to get worse. Schools, like Chapman, will try a variety of clever schemes to get students to ante up big bucks for those precious premium spaces, but I say enough is enough. It’s time to look at the big picture and decide what’s more important in terms of our hard-earned cash. The universities get enough from us already in tuition, housing, fees and more. Take a stand by taking a seat on the bus and forgo the parking nightmare I endured. Life’s too short to stalk your fellow classmates just to save yourself a few yards of walking distance. Have a creative idea for addressing the college parking issues issue on your campus? Tell us about it!