As I walked back to my car the other day, I saw a parking officer ticketing cars at expired meters. I stopped to ask him if he also tickets cars with invalid permits. I mean, has anyone ever noticed the inordinate number of students who try to get away with a Fall-only permit, or a discount permit in non-discount lots, or sometimes even no permit at all? I question as to why these cars never have tickets on them.
It enrages me to know that I had to buy a $274 permit to park in any commuter lot that I want to, year-round. Others, however, who paid for fall-only permits or discount permits, are dishonestly taking the spots from me and other paying students. I know a few people who have pulled off this trick in the past. It seems cheaper for students not to buy a permit and just deal with the three, four, or maybe five tickets that they may receive for the ENTIRE year.
I know that the cost of parking at UM is outrageous. Since I pay for it every year, I can tell you that the extra expense hurts the wallet, especially when combined with the cost of tuition, books, and supplies. Rules are rules, but when they are not enforced, it diminishes our faith in the parking ticket system. Why should I have to pay for a permit when others skate by for a mere $80 to $100 in accrued tickets, or only pay for parking during the fall semester?
The officer handling the expired meters told me that he was from the City of Coral Gables and he was only authorized to ticket the cars at the meters. I called Parking and Transportation to find out just what they do about all the abuse of permits.
I was informed that they are actively ticketing cars that are parked illegally in specific lots. Of course, they are unable to enforce parking permit restrictions entirely. They look for the color of permits in order to tell who should and should not be in a specific lot. I am comforted to know that ticketing is occurring and I would warn all with invalid permits to watch where they park.
I was, however, disappointed with the idea that some drivers still slip through the cracks. Maybe next year, to avoid abuse of the fall-only permits, proof of fall graduation should be required; that seems to be the only reason one would purchase that permit. As for discount permits and all other parking blunders, strict enforcement in necessary.
Denise Kolb is a senior. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.