BY KRIS MANUEL
As another school year began so too did long lineups, including those at the bookstore, at Tim Hortons and, for those who drive to school, at the parking permit desk.
However, Safety and Security Services has been working to make purchasing parking permits easier for students. This year they created a new online system. Instead of filling out a hard-copy form to get a parking permit, students were directed to the nearby laptops or they could purchase their parking pass online in advance to avoid lining up.
Don Willis, the director of Safety and Security Services at Conestoga College, said this new system has been working really well this year. “The other thing that we’re offering too this year, which is something new, is that you’ll be able to purchase your permits online all year.” Willis said online sales usually only last for a certain time period and stop around the first week of classes in September. However, students are now able to purchase online if they decide to buy a parking permit anytime during the year.
“We’re trying to improve customer service,” he said.
One issue students continue to have is the cost of parking permits. Leah Feeney, a first-year bachelor of science in nursing student, said, “It’s really expensive to park here for the eight months of the year that we’re here.”
A permit for an annual designated lot including HST costs $444 and a semi-annual permit costs $235.
Willis said he has heard that before, but explained the reason they charge for parking permits is to help pay for parking lot costs such as the lights, security guards, paving the parking lots and painting lines.
However, the cost of parking permits did not increase very much this year.
“We’ve hardly had any complaints about the cost of the permits this year and that’s a first,” he said.
Willis said the goal is to look at other ways to run the school parking system more efficiently.
“Right now the college money goes to your educational experience, and that’s the priority. So things like parking, I do my best to run at the most efficient cost so that I don’t have to take money from the educational end of it.”
Feeney also said she thought that Safety and Security Services did a good job maintaining the parking systems and ticketing drivers who park without a permit.
“It’s a pain in the butt for them but I like it,” she said.