Parking Fees Even When You Don’t Park?

Parking means you drive a vehicle into a parking lot, come to a halt and station it temporarily.

That is my definition of parking.

Miami Dade College suggests otherwise.

Picture of Hector Gonzalez
Gonzalez

According to Rolando Montoya, provost for operations at MDC, the college relates parking to the term “Access and Parking” whereas all students are subject to pay this allowance.

But what happens to those students who do not operate a vehicle? What about those who don’t drive, or park their cars on campus?

There were approximately 165,000 students enrolled last year at MDC and they are currently set to have the same estimated amount. The cost of parking per credit is $3; it remained the same as last year.

That means if we take a student with 12 credits per semester, the cost of “ Access and Parking” would be $36 per student, in essence if we had 165,000 enrolled times $36, that equals to an astonishing figure—$5,940,000.

That amount speaks in large volumes, especially for those students who must pay, despite not ever driving or parking a vehicle or any type of transportation at the College.

Kairus Parking Cartoon
DANIELLE KAIRUZ \ THE REPORTER

Couldn’t there be an exception for those set of students?

Nope.

“All students have physical and/or virtual access to the College. That is the reason why they all pay the ‘Access and Parking fee,’” Montoya said.

Virtual and physical access? I thought we as students are supposed to have that automatically.

The College first implemented the “Access and Parking ” fee in the 2011-2012 academic year, they’ve been considerate enough to keep it at $3 per credit without an increase.

“The amount collected in access and parking fees is well below the College’s cost to construct, maintain, illuminate, secure, and clean parking lots, parking garages, pathways, campus entrances, and other facilities as well as electronic access,” Montoya said.

I can understand that perspective, but it still doesn’t answer why students who don’t drive or park must contribute. Perhaps the College should eliminate the word “ access and parking” and separate them, or deregulate to those who don’t register a vehicle.

Other notable local colleges and universities in town differ in strategy but some share the same principle.

Barry University has the word FREE embedded in bold black letters pertaining to parking fees for students, faculty and staff on their website.

According to the University of Miami they break down parking into zones: Purple, Red, White, Pink, Gray and Yellow Zones pay $496 annually, Blue zone is $534 annually, and Green zone is $254 annually, however, students who do not drive or park a vehicle are not required to pay parking fees.

Florida International University is similar to MDC. They charge a transportation access fee to students regardless of if they have a car or not. The fees are $89 for the fall, $89 for the spring and $83 for the summer.

It makes complete sense if you drive and park, you should pay up, but why dish out funds when you are not using a service?

MDC should re-consider removing the “Access and Parking” fee for those students who operate a vehicle and those who don’t. They should even implement fines for those who commit fraud to the policy and enforce it.

It sure is better than charging those students, whose resources are already scarce, for a service they don’t use.

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Hector Gonzalez

Hector Gonzalez, 33, is returning to Miami Dade College where he will be pursuing a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Film at the North Campus. He will serve as a photographer and staff writer for the paper this year. Gonzalez obtained his Associate Degree in Mass Communications during the 2011-2012 school year while serving as Sports Editor for The Reporter. He earned the Best Sports Story award from the Florida College System Activities Association in 2011. He has also worked as freelance sports writer for the South Florida Sun Sentinel and the Miami Herald.

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