Henry: CSU isn’t an airline, so why did it oversell parking passes?

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Collegian | Sophia Sirokman

Brendan Henry, Collegian Columnist

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

Parking passes are not a cheap expense at Colorado State University. The annual cost for a Z permit pass, allowing the permit holder to access the Z, R and ZR parking spots, is a whopping $584. That kind of money is enough to buy a PlayStation 5 — so you would also expect, at the very least, to be able to park in the lot you paid for. 

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Like airlines oversell tickets, CSU oversold parking passes. Instead of figuring out where to put the excess cars before the semester started, CSU waited until Sept. 8 to send out an email detailing additional parking locations for pass holders. 

The email says lot 473 is now open for Z parking, and lots 412, 440 and 585 are open for mixed Z parking. Remember that this was not sent before the start of the semester but instead sent weeks after classes began. 

For the unfortunate folks who paid for their passes but had to resort to the pay-to-park lots, that sucks. That’s a lot of money spent to proceed to pay more as a last resort. 

“It is nice that the parking situation has improved after a few weeks, but the fact that it needed to be improved is the problem.”

Have you ever been late to class because you could not land a parking spot in the lot you paid for? I sure have. The overselling of parking passes should not interfere with students getting to their classes. 

The parking situation has improved for Z lot parkers since the opening of more lots. Unfortunately, this issue should have been addressed before the semester began. 

The average cost of base tuition and fees this school year for an in-state undergraduate student taking 12 credit hours is $6,208.46 per semester. Tack on nearly $600 for a parking pass, and that is nearly $7,000, not including additional fees and expenditures. That is a lot of cash to dish out to the university and begs the question of why someone should pay for something not guaranteed by the university. 

CSU is already making bank off of us — and those commuter passes add up. 

I would be willing to pay for a cheaper parking pass even if the parking situation was not the greatest. The issue lies with the fact that they force us to pay an arm and a leg for a parking situation that does not guarantee a spot. 

The University of Colorado Boulder has a different system of buying parking passes. They have a credit hour priority, so the higher number of completed credits a person has, the higher priority they have when buying their permit. It hurts to give CU Boulder credit, but this system seems better than the free-for-all system CSU executes. 

It is nice that the parking situation has improved after a few weeks, but the fact that it needed to be improved is the problem. 

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CSU should either adopt the CU Boulder system of parking or simply remove a lot’s worth of permits from the available list if the number of passes sold exceeds the number of spots available. If not either of these, lower the permit prices to account for not having enough spots, and be transparent with students. Action before an issue arises is much better than a reaction after the issue has already occurred. 

Reach Brendan Henry at letters@collegian.com or on Twitter @BrendanHenryRMC.