By Christian Contreras, Feb. 21, 2023
Upon returning from summer break, CPP student commuters were hit with the fact that flexible parking permit options had been discontinued.
Spring 2023 is the second semester students no longer have the option to purchase a Monday, Wednesday and Friday or Tuesday and Thursday flex permit. Instead, students can purchase a semester-long permit for $231 or locate other means of transportation.
“If it is a cheaper option for students to get their passes on the days they only come to campus, I feel like it should be something that’s offered,” said Spanish student Jazz Vargas, who commutes from Eastvale. “I think it’s unfair that everybody has to pay more for a general pass instead of just those specific days that students come on campus.”
For students who commute only two days a week, buying this permit seemed unnecessary. In previous semesters, students could pay $115 for a flex permit if they commuted only two or three days out of the week. If they commuted more, they would pay $231 for a semester-long permit.
“I think it’s too expensive. Especially for the fact that the parking situation for a commuter school sucks,” said biology student Gabrielle Atencio, who also commutes from Eastvale and purchased a semester-long permit. “It’s usually hard to find parking, there are sometimes not enough spots, and I feel like the walk is kind of far, but there’s not much the school could do about it.”
When asked if there is a possibility that the flexible permits could return in future semesters, Parking & Transportation Services Director Mike Yu said, “I would say it’s possible, but not likely.”
At the conclusion of the 2022 academic year, Yu reported that the department received emails from students requesting that they bring the flex permits back and had inquiries about why they had been removed.
“The answer is it wasn’t sustainable. It was meant to be a one-time thing anyway. What I mean by it not being sustainable, in order for us to keep that heavily discounted — fifty percent off — parking permit, we would have needed to raise money somewhere else,” said Yu.
“Understanding that the majority of the students were buying the semester-long permit anyway, we decided that yes, it benefits some students, but for the majority of the students, they really prioritize keeping the semester-long permit as low as humanly possible.”
The flexible permits were offered as a one-time accommodation following the return to campus from a year of online instruction, but parking fee revenue data indicated that a two-thirds majority of students opted to purchase a semester-long permit rather than a flex permit.
Students can also use the PayByPhone app to pay for daily parking, however, sometimes the total costs calculated throughout the semester exceed the price of a permit. Some students are unaware of this because paying $8.35 for a full day (six hours) is far more appealing than $231 at first glance.
The parking expense is significant for students like Vargas, who said she works three jobs in addition to going to school.
“I still know that I need that money to be paying for other things in my life, and a parking pass, unfortunately, is not my number one priority,” said Vargas. “Like that can be books for another class, something that’s actually educational. Not something that I feel that the school should not be charging us for.”
With the fees imposed on students who purchase parking permits, it’s natural for some to have suspicions about where their money is going.
“One hundred percent of parking fee revenue goes back toward the parking program,” said Yu. “That would be facility maintenance, debt service, staffing and daily operations. So as long as we can pay those bills, we try to keep the parking fee as low as humanly possible.”
Taking into consideration the concerns raised by the loss of flex permits, Yu encouraged the CPP community to explore other means of transportation such as the newly added Silver Streak Line.
“The majority of our student population really sees driving to campus as the only way to get to campus. And I want to challenge our students, and our faculty and staff to have an open mind about mobility and transportation,” said Yu. “So I would really encourage, especially our CPP students, to take a look at transportation programs. I think they’ll find that it’s more convenient than they think. And it’s free.”
Feature image by Alexander Novoa
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