by: Sydney Charles and Emma Springer
The UCI Transportation and Distribution Services has recently made some changes regarding parking passes for students. Their official website now states that individuals who “live within two miles of campus, undergraduate residents of Campus Village, and freshmen residents of Mesa Court and Middle Earth” will no longer be able to obtain an on-campus parking pass.
Interim Assistant Director of Distribution Services and Public Affairs Jullianna Bayley explained that the goal behind these new changes revolves around encouraging students to pursue more sustainable transportation options.
She stated that, “UCI’s parking policies are guided by SCAQMD mandates to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well as other regulations such as the UC Carbon Neutrality Initiative. We’re asking that on-campus residents and students living within two miles consider sustainable alternatives whenever possible, as there are an abundance of resources available to support sustainable commuting.”
Bayley suggested that students consider the Anteater Express, Waze Carpool, or the OC bus as an alternative means of transportation. She also recommended walking or biking, activities that she said “our Southern California weather is perfect for.”
Fourth year dance major Michael Menzer expressed support towards the permit changes.
“I think it’s a really good policy for mitigating the parking issue because so many people who could easily walk are driving to campus,” he said.
However, UCI student Bee Pisuraj sees the new regulations from a different angle.
“Considering the fact that the newly admitted class is made up of mostly transfers and out-of-state students, how does the school expect them to explore, socialize, and experience college life as a whole without having a car. I doubt filing ‘to have freedom’ is a compelling argument for the application,” Pisuraj said.
UCI’s bus line, the Anteater Express, is a popular option for many students, and the number of users will only continue to rise. The Assistant Operations Manager for the Anteater Express, Annie Downey, explained that the fare and frequency of the W line reaching further from campus will remain the same for the upcoming school year.
But, Downey also explained, “To better accommodate residents living in the new Plaza Verde Housing facility, we are making some minor changes to our service. These changes will be announced to the campus community in the upcoming month as we begin to prepare students for the Fall 2019 quarter.”
Senior Sahil Palane believes that the new regulations are to inconvenience those who don’t live on campus.
“I think it’s kind of unfair,” Palane said. “UCI says it’s to make all the students share rides and take public transportation, but honestly I think it’s to punish all the people who aren’t living on campus. My roommates and I found a spot off-campus, but within two miles so it’s close… Now I have to find a way to get parking.”
Palane also commented on the “inconvenient” bus schedule: “The only bus that comes by our place is the W-line and that comes every 30 minutes; If I miss that I’ll be late to class.”
These aren’t the only changes being made; the rates for all-day parking passes have been increased from $10 to $13.
Bayley stated that the rise in costs are due to a myriad of factors including economic as well as funding considerations.
She said, “Daily parking passes were increased for the first time in 10 years to help offset rising labor costs as minimum wage increases, and to help fund capital improvement projects.”
However, regarding the off-campus parking permits, Bayley understands that sustainable transportation options won’t be feasible for everyone. She explained that students with “employment, volunteer work, mobility impairment, medical or family care responsibilities” or who “demonstrate a need to bring a vehicle to UCI” may submit the required documentation on an official parking application and will still be able to obtain a parking permit.