Arizona Daily Wildcat Online
· Football
Live Culture
Police Beat
Online Crossword
Photo Spreads
The Wildcat
Letter to the Editor
Wildcat staff
Job Openings
Advertising Info
Student Media
Arizona Student Media info
UATV - student TV
KAMP - student radio
Daily Wildcat staff alumni

Parking cheaters face new obstacles

DAVID HARDEN/Arizona Daily Wildcat
UA Parking and Transportation Services will be cracking down on improper use of the SmartPass system in UA parking garages.
By Greg Holt
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday September 16, 2003

Parking and Transportation Services has a message for UA students: Friends don't let friends park for free.

PTS instituted a new system yesterday in all campus garages, which aims to stop students from handing off their permits to friends who are still parked in the garages. By doing that, students were able to exit the garage without paying.

However the computer system will now track permits not only when they are used to enter the garages, but when they exit, too.

"If a permit is used to exit the garage twice without first reentering, the system will read it as a Īpass back' and the garage gates will not open," said Michael Delahanty, operations manager for PTS.

The permit owner must then go to PTS to get the permit reset, and should expect a lecture as well.

"We'll let them know that's the cause, and if it happens again their parking privilege could be revoked," Delahanty said.

Parking permits are a luxury item for some students. They range in an annual price of $235 for a Zone 1 permit to $450 for a garage permit, and many of those willing to pay are turned down because of shortages.

Paul Pintek is a marketing sophomore who is still on the waiting list for a parking permit despite having applied for one last semester. He now pays $6 per day to park in campus garages.

Ways students get out of paying fees:

·One student, who has a permit, exits the garage. The permit holder then hands the permit to another student who uses the permit to exit free of charge.

·Tailgating exiting drivers.

·Sharing permits with other students.

·Accidentally "losing" a parking ticket. If a student's car is in a garage for several days, the cashier will issue a $6 one-day charge.

"I think they should build another garage or at least lower the fees," said Pintek. "I guess they have to make a buck, but it's expensive for a college student. I don't think they realize how broke as a joke I am."

Many other students are less tolerant of PTS's fees and waiting lists and prefer to exit the garages without paying a cent.

"On the way out, just wait at the gate. There's sensors in the ground that won't let it close on a car, so you just wait till someone with a pass leaves and follow them out," said a pre-business sophomore at the Tyndall Garage who asked not to be identified.

Known as "tailgating" or "piggy-backing," this is a popular method of skipping out on garage fees.

"I just follow people out. I have a big car so it works well," said one communications sophomore who asked not to be identified.

The sophomore is able to tailgate successfully about half the time, only paying when there is no one around to follow out.

"I think its lame that you have to pay like $400 dollars for a Zone 1 pass and technically be farther from campus than your house. It's a waste of money," he said.

Delahanty reports that PTS catches about five tailgaters every week.

"We run operations where we place people at sporadic times that report license plates of people tailgating out of the garages. The license number is then sent to a database to see if they have a permit. If there's no permit, we put them on our boot list and have people looking for the car." Delahanty said, adding that surveillance will soon be intensified.

"When we get them in, we explain to them that it's a crime and next time they could be arrested. Most people don't realize it's a crime," Delahanty said.

Students caught tailgating can be charged an $85 "theft of service" fee.

Another way students save money in parking costs is to share a permit among several people.

"I have a pass and let all of my friends use it," said Roberta Blyth, a pre-business sophomore. "It doesn't seem like anyone checks."

A journalism sophomore and a pharmacy sophomore, both of whom asked not to be identified, had a similar plan when purchasing their permit from PTS.

"We paid for it fifty-fifty, and we just switch it off. You're supposed to attach it to the window, but we don't," one said.

Delahanty said PTS is less capable of stopping people from sharing permits.

"When we can find it, we do, but that's really hard to detect. We don't know who's in the car or what car it is," he said.

Melissa Kunze, a marketing sophomore, views the garages as a cheap, safe place for long-term parking. She has her own system for reducing the amount of money she has to pay.

"You just go to the cashier and say you've lost your ticket. He'll give you a new one, and you only have to pay six dollars for one day instead of $6 for every day you've parked there."

Delahanty understands why students finesse their way out of parking fees, but he will not offer sympathy for their cause.

"That's a chance they're willing to take. We can only sell X number of permits, we just don't have enough to go around. Paying $6 per day, I would think students would think that's pretty steep," Delahanty said.

PTS has an annual budget of $10.5 million, or about one percent of the total university budget, said Kathy Sherrill, business manager for PTS.

Something to say? Discuss this on WildChat
Or write a Letter to the Editor
Parking cheaters face new obstacles
Flaw may hurt UA computers
Cultural chats help teach English
Business students launch nonprofit alliance
On the spot
Fast Facts
Measuring up
Police Beat


Webmaster -
© Copyright 2003 - The Arizona Daily Wildcat - Arizona Student Media