Parking charges at the university have made another leap, this time rocketing £50 from £150 to £200 for a full-year permit.
Before the evidently critical standpoint one can take towards this announcement, it is worth considering the university’s position with relation to car parking.
The number of cars on the road is increasing all the time, and with 1650 parking spaces the university is doing all it can to cope with the huge influx of vehicles on campus.
To continue to increase capacity would be a perpetual endeavour, resulting in a complete stamping on the beautiful greenery we all enjoy as students of the Stirling University campus.
Furthermore, the efforts of the university have been admirable: almost 2000 spaces is a huge number of spaces compared to other campuses, and the investment in sustainable transport is a very worthy cause indeed.
And yet, there are questions to be asked. A rise of a third is an enormous step for any organisation, as if students who drive are made of money. To have a car is, yes, a luxury, but it’s also a massive drain on resources.
Driving means paying for insurance, tax, service, MOT, general maintenance and fuel. These do not come cheap for any student.
One significant issue is the maths does not check out. For a half-year permit, one has to pay £100 from September to February, and then March to August.
This seems fairly logical: half of £200 is £100, and that pays for a six-month period of the year. However, it is a complete deception, because no driver pays to park in the summer months from June to August (depending on when semester ends).
Thus, the £200 cost really includes three months when no one pays to park, totalling £50 over the course of those three months.
Secondly, availability. Finding a space at the university has always been an issue, and the fact the full or half-year permits do not include a guaranteed space makes the permit almost void.
Furthermore, developments in the Cottrell car park have seen a diversion of traffic and an increase in the number of double yellow lines behind the Logie lecture theatre.
Increasing the number of double yellows will do nothing to stop people parking there, because it has not done so in the past.
In just one month in 2014, the university stuck parking notices (PPNs) on the windscreens of 839 unfortunate drivers’ cars. Assuming every driver paid within 14 days (when the fine rises from £30 to £60), the income would be £25,170. In just one month.
Of course, Stirling remains good for campus parking among Scottish universities. However, it is an obscene rise for those with full-year permits; even a rise of £25 would be pushing it, but would still be far better.
Either the university or the drivers must give way, but perhaps advancement of technology and sustainable methods of transport will allow the two to live in harmony.