TAPS to increase parking permit prices come Fall Quarter
Come Fall Quarter, students will have another obstacle to hurdle at the beginning of their academic year with the recent announcement of increased parking permit prices for the 2019–20 year, despite the fact that no new parking options will be installed.
It should go without saying that raising the price of parking without providing any solution to issues of limited space or students’ distance from campus is not going to solve any problems facing UC Davis Transportation and Parking Services (TAPS). Students who already pay between $45 and $55 per month for a pass will pay the increased rate because they need to drive to campus for an abundance of reasons and will be met with the same conundrums: They miss lectures because they can’t find a spot or they are forced to park 20 minutes away from their destination, late to the classes for which they pay.
It’s important to think about why students invest in parking permits. It appears from interviews that TAPS is under the impression that driving to school is an act of laziness or a direct ignorance of bus systems being offered. This is not the case. Students driving to campus are often doing so for jobs or extracurricular activities that start well before the buses run or end far after their routes conclude. Students with an opening shift at the CoHo and students who stays until 11 p.m. for a theatre rehearsal are similarly out of luck when the buses stop running. Having a car on campus allows them to safely make it home or to school without having to wait, isolated, in the cold of the night or speed walk from a distant apartment complex at the crack of dawn. Having accessible permits therefore is an issue of safety.
Many UC Davis students do not live in the areas immediately surrounding the campus. Those who commute from Sacramento, Woodland or the Bay Area do not have the option of buses or campus carpools to class. Increasing parking costs corners these people whose only option is driving and forces them to pay more for resources that are not being improved. It does not encourage them to find another way to get to school, but instead robs them of an extra $5 each month that could have gone to tuition or living costs.
Student commuters are a given when the housing crisis in Davis continues without clear solution. Though facilities such as West Village are building more units, affordability is always a concern for students. Simply building a few new apartments won’t solve a problem that will only grow worse as more students are admitted with the 2020 Initiative, which promised to add 5,000 students by 2020 in comparison to the campus population in 2013 when the plan was declared. This slow addition of housing combined with the choice to admit more and more students is pushing people out of Davis and making their only option a commute via personal vehicle. The university should take responsibility for its commitment to more students and provide them more resources.
When students drive by unused faculty and staff spaces to be met with no available C-permit spots, it’s clear that effective changes are not being made to be worthy of an increased permit price. With the housing crisis, commuters are inevitable. The Editorial Board believes that parking should not only be affordable and easy to find for students, but that solving the housing crisis is one of the most effective ways of alleviating the parking nightmare.
Written by: The Editorial Staff