Students upset over parking permit fees remaining the same amid pandemic

Picture+shows+the+entrance+of+parking+structure+E.+A+sign+pictured+reads+Structure+E+and+displays+the+number+of+available+parking+spaces+.

Erick Cabrera

Parking Structure E, located on Levanda Ave and Paseo Rancho Castilla, has over 2,000 parking spots available to students and pay stations are available on every level.

Erick Cabrera, Reporter

Cal State LA welcomed new and returning students to the Fall 2021 semester with the same $220 parking permit fee since before the pandemic began. Already, some students have voiced their concerns about the permit cost.

 “Honestly, I think it’s unfair [I] have to pay $220 for a pass when I’m only going to be on campus for two days out of the week,” said Alondra Villela, a junior upset with the parking fee.

Villela then explained how the money being used to pay the fee could instead go towards students’ needs, such as books or food.

“I think the administration should have revised student pricing again,” said Kimberly Velazquez, another junior who understands the price may be too high for some students.  “It’s not that bad, but it could be cheaper.” 

Velazquez purchased her parking permit because she works on campus and will be there for three of her classes this semester.

The picture shows a pie graph with the percentage of students that purchased a parking permit and the percentage of the ones who didn't. In blue are the 32% that voted "yes" to purchasing and in orange are the remaining 68% that voted "no".
Data visualization created by Erick Cabrera, using data from an Informal survey conducted by the University Times.

The University Times conducted an informal poll asking students if they had purchased or were planning to purchase a parking permit for the fall semester.  Out of 227 responses, 68% of students reported that they were not planning to purchase a parking permit, while the other 32% said they plan to. 

Students who responded “yes” to purchasing a parking permit this semester mostly reported only having to be on campus two or three days out of the week.

Nidhin Patel, a professor, recognizes the frustrations students have about the permit prices for this semester. 

“I can understand the student frustration on this matter, especially the ones who had left LA to move back home during the pandemic and are now already overburdened with the costs of returning and resettling,” said Patel.

Patel suggested a possible color coordinated system in which permit prices would be determined based on how many days each student will be on campus for the semester.

In an email to the University Times, the school and Department of Public Safety said, “Students are not mandated to purchase a semester or monthly permit. Additionally, those who are only on campus fewer than two full days a week may only need to purchase daily parking to meet their needs.”

The parking fee was not raised this semester.  However, it is expected to see a $20 increase by the Spring 2022 semester. 

In the same email, the department stated the reasoning for the increase is due to the university’s three-year price rate increase put in place to “help with maintaining our facilities and parking operations.”

The department stated that the parking rates were set to increase in the fall 2020 but “knowing the difficulties some may have, it was decided to delay the rate increase to the Spring 2022 semester.”

Aside from the $220 semester permit, students also have other options like the 30-day permit priced at $55, $8 daily permits, 4-hour permits and hourly permits. Semester permits can be purchased online, while daily and hourly permits can be paid either online or at pay stations located on select lots and levels.

Picture shows the selection of permits available for purchase. The options pictured are the 2-wheel, Student 30 day and semester parking. Price for a 2-wheel is $49, the Student 30 day permit cost $55, the semester parking is $220.
When seeking to purchase a permit online, Students will be prompted with these selections . $8 daily permits, 4-hour permits and hourly permits, can be purchased in the pay stations available and through the PayByPhone app.

Updated: Sept. 16 to correct Alondra Villela’s last name.