Miami’s parking scam

The price of a single parking permit at the University of Miami is equivalent to almost an entire semester’s worth of textbooks and school materials.  Despite the fact that students pay an extremely high rate for the privilege of parking, they do not seem to be getting much in return.

Permits range in price from $226 for a discount pass, which restricts students entirely to perimeter locations, to $444, for an annual commuter pass.  Compared to Florida State, which includes free parking passes in their transportation fees, and the University of Florida, whose most expensive permit tops at $134, Miami students are getting swindled.

With few centrally located parking spots, commuter students are nevertheless forced to park in perimeter areas, such as the Ponce de Leon parking garage and the lots near the BankUnited Center. This inconveniently leaves students, who paid a premium for parking, with a minimum 15- to 20-minute hike to class.

Perhaps a separate lot, specifically for commuters, could be created to help with the issue. Nevertheless some determined commuter students search in vain for a closer spot, which realistically is a waste of time.

“For the 15 minutes students spend driving around trying to find an empty spot, they could have already parked and taken a nice, air-conditioned shuttle to class,” Richard Sobaram, the director of Parking and Transportation Services, said.

While it is true that the university spends $1 million a year to allow Hurry ‘Cane shuttles to circulate, it might not be the best investment.  The shuttles are not always on time and do not show up as regularly as advertised.

Similar to how Walt Disney World handles their transportation between parks, the university could have designated shuttles for different buildings.  A journalism student would board a bus specific to the School of Communication, eliminating stops at other locations and streamlining the process.  However, a shuttle to the SoC is not even in place, another flawed aspect of the bus system.

Regardless of how frustrating the situation has become, UM is located in a settled area and it is unreasonable to expect the university to build a million-dollar parking garage where there is simply no space.

Nevertheless, the parking issue should be taken more seriously for the inconveniences it is causing and the high price students are forced to pay.