At Embry-Riddle, we are extremely fortunate for so many different things. We have a top tier ROTC program, a strong veteran student body, and a program which produces some of the best pilots and engineers in the world. But like any paradise, there is an extreme cost we all share. I am not talking about the tuition or the fact they only give us one-ply toilet paper in the bathrooms. Of course, this is yet another article about parking.
To draw a solution, we must first identify the problem. The problem is simple: Embry-Riddle over sells parking passes. This is due to the influx of higher freshman classes before preparing the campus for a higher average student population. In short, Embry-Riddle can put a man on a moon (or at least people in space), but cannot solve a simple input/output equation.
The other problem, which is possibly overlooked by many, is the simple fact the university is failing to fulfill a contractual obligation with the student. I cannot think of any other business where money is exchanged for a good or service, and then that service or good is withheld from the customer. In fact, there is a legal term for this, theft. Ask yourself this simple question: what place of business would you pay for something and then be content with them not giving you what you paid for? The problem is two-fold, overselling passes without informing the student, and then failing to produce the very product being sold.
The most obvious solution is not allowing freshman to have cars. That seems easy and quick and has been in the back of just about every student’s mind. However, I offer a different course of action. First and foremost, only sell passes for the number of spots the university has. But then not all students will get a pass! Rather than having a flat rate parking pass and get assigned parking pass color based on your living situation (dorms or commuter, etc.) we have passes of varying degree.
If you are a student who lives in the dorms, you can elect to purchase a cheaper pass out in the red lot and not spend $100 to park on the other side of campus. But if you are a commuter and are sick and tired of driving an hour or so to class only to spend 2 hours looking for parking on a pass you already shelled out $100 for, that space should be there waiting for you.
I propose this solution, allowing students to purchase parking passes by location and relative value. For example, there might be 100 parking spots considered premium parking and those places cost perhaps as much as $120. But being that there are only 100 of them, there would only be 100 of those passes available. This would follow suit around campus and perhaps have a basic pass costing only $40-$50.
Now the million-dollar question, how to determine who gets what. And that is simple, just like class registration, there are parking pass dates. So, graduating seniors get the first pick, then honors students and so on. Therefore, freshmen still “technically” can have cars, but people can get exactly what they pay for.