I was in the Spencer W. Kimball Student & Administration Services Building the first time I ran into trouble with a parking pass. I attempted to buy one in person the very first day of classes like the total newbie I was at the time.
I was, of course, denied.
“Buy it online,” the man behind the counter had said monotonously, handing me one of those fancy pamphlets that “explained the whole thing” but still left me with questions.
I was left with many incorrect assumptions and a feeling of bitterness about the parking pass system. If we were coming here to learn, why are we being squeezed dry again just for the privilege to park here?
I assumed the parking programs were set to prevent chaos from non-students coming to campus to ensure space for faculty.
These are all good reasons and make sense for us to have a parking pass system.
That being said, there are more efficient ways to utilize parking at a college institution. They say the three largest purchases one will make in life will be a home, a car and an education.
While seemingly less expensive, the cost of a college parking pass is an expense that most of Scroll‘s readers grapple with.
Forty dollars is the highest price for a parking pass in a prime location; then you have to pay for the apartment parking on top of that. I have heard of apartment parking as low as $15 per semester here on campus or as high as $75 per semester for student housing.
This deliberate price gouging is frustrating to think about. Rexburg, in and of itself, has a parking problem. The city, the apartments, the businesses and the school all take their slice from the citizens of this town.
The students face the worst of it, though.
Some solutions can continue to assist the school in maintaining order on campus while making the process infinitely more pleasant for everyone involved. This can solve our incorrect assumptions and change our feelings toward the parking system at BYU-Idaho.
Suggestion 1: Let us buy them in person.
If an employee is going to work in the office anyway, let us buy parking passes in person. It will make the whole transaction far more straightforward: You give them your I-Number, and you pay for them there.
It’s an incredibly easy way to make things even more streamlined. They could possibly include parking information as part of the school orientation emails.
Online purchases can still be an option for students who are away from campus or don’t want to go in person, but having the option to purchase parking passes in person lets confused students get clear answers.
Suggestion 2: Remove the hair-trigger at which parking pass rules are enforced.
I know, personally, I’ve had to park my car in visitor parking once because I needed to speak to a teacher for 10 minutes. I didn’t get ticketed, but I was terrified during my whole interview with my professor.
On the bright side, quoting directly from the BYU-I parking regulations: “BYUI Parking Services does not enforce permit parking on weekends, holidays, non-teaching days, during any break between semesters, or summer term.”
In this same vein of thinking, the consequences of parking without a pass should be reduced as well. Unfortunately for broke college students, booting is often the first choice.
If the school had a database of student license plates and phone numbers, students could be called and given some time to move their vehicles rather than just booting or towing them.
Suggestion 3: The school can work with apartments.
Parking in Rexburg is a luxury that should be guaranteed. You need parking passes for school, home, and work.
There is a clear disparity between parking passes — some are incredibly cheap. Others are free, and some are expensive as all get out.
If the school would put a price cap (for example $30) on parking passes for school-approved housing, it would greatly ease the burden on many students. Students with cheaper passes wouldn’t be affected while those with the $75 parking passes would have a simpler time.
In the end, there are much worse things in the world than parking passes. Yet by releasing restrictions, car-owning students can breathe, and the frustration of Rexburg parking can be eased.