A new initiative is currently underway that will potentially give students the option to pay for a parking pass in instalments, instead of one summative payment.
Kyle Rose, President of the Brock University Students’ Union (BUSU) is responsible for organizing the initiative and making it a reality.
“BUSU knows that payment options on medium or large expenses are vital because it makes the expenses more affordable. While parking on campus is a privilege, access to our institution is a key catalyst for student success,” said Rose.
When talking to students about this option, most considered the instalment initiative a good idea.
“It’s a lot to buy it at the beginning of the year on top of tuition and all other fees. Spreading it out would be better and more affordable,” said Rachel Lem, a Brock student.
“It would be better to pay for it in monthly instalments,” said Tanner Borwell.
Other students however, questioned the need for such an initiative.
“I’d rather pay for it all at once,” said Suzelle Bugden. “It’s out of the way and I don’t have to budget for it.”
“It’s easier to pay at once. Otherwise it’s a constant hassle,” agreed Abbey Palmer, third-year Medical Science student.
Currently, the initiative has not yet been finalized. Rose’s goal is to have it in place by the Winter semester, or Spring 2016 at the latest.
“The process is going well. We are working with Tom Arkell from University Services and Bryan Boles from Finance and Administration to hash out the terms for such an arrangement. They have verbally agreed to it,” said Rose.
The current price for an eight-month pass for students is $392 for Zone 1 and $280 for Zone 2. Students also have the option of four-month passes for either the Fall or Winter semester. These cost $206 for Zone 1 and $155 for Zone 2. One of the biggest issues students complained about was the overselling of parking passes. There are 1,259 parking spots in Zone 2 and around 1,700 to 2,000 passes that are sold annually. For Zone 1, there are 1,016 spots and 1,230 passes have been sold to students this school year.
This number does not include all faculty and staff members of Brock who have Zone 1 passes as well.
“It’s so hard to find a spot,” said Briana Barker, who has a Zone 2 parking pass. “I paid for it, so I should have a spot.”
“I do the ‘stalking method’,” said Bugden. “When I drive up, I try and follow a student walking to their car and then take their parking spot.”
Another problem for students with a parking pass is that they still have to pay for a bus pass. Some students remarked that it was nice to have that option but most commented they never use the transit system and so they should not be forced to pay for it. The price for the Universal Bus Pass, valid from September to April, is $195.45.
“I can opt out of the health and dental plan so I should be able to opt out of the bus pass as well,” said Barker.
According to Rose however, the idea of opting out of the bus pass is not practical.
“The whole idea of the Universal Bus pass is that all students who are registered in at least 1.5 credits come together to fund a service that benefits themselves as well as their fellow Badgers. To go back on this commitment for the large majority of students who drive would severely impact our ability to negotiate with transit providers. So much so that we would be unable to offer the pass at all,” said Rose.
The bus pass is negotiated with five different transit providers in the Niagara Region and it is a pass unique to Brock students.
While students buying a parking pass also have to pay for the bus pass, the instalment initiative will hopefully create a more manageable financial burden for students.
Arkell said the initiative will be on the table for discussion between BUSU and Parking Services this winter.