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Campus Commuter Crisis 

Studying for exams, maintaining a decent grade point average, and racking up attendance numbers for social events as if you were trying to catch every single Pokémon in existence. These all appear to be the core worries that a college student is typically faced with. But has anyone ever considered parking to be one of the many obstructive anxieties of college students? At Texas State University, campus parking is somewhat of an ordeal for many students that commute to campus. 

According to Texas State’s numbers and statistics page, in the fiscal year of 2022, 19,491 parking passes were purchased, which is comparatively less than the pre-pandemic fiscal year of 2019 where the total number of parking passes purchased was 22,246. The decline in the number of parking spots being bought may be due, in part, to the limited number of lot space that is made available to commuters. 

“There needs to be more lots available for students to park in,” senior Hannah Walls said.

“Especially since so many students live a bit further from campus. It is not even worth it to buy a parking pass as a commuter since there are super limited spots to begin with. I always tried to stay away from parking altogether.” 

According to the parking services section of Texas State University’s website, commuters are able to purchase what is known as “The Purple Permit,” priced at $115. This permit remains valid for the entire year. When registering with parking services, students are required to register their vehicle. However, this rule has caused difficulty for some commuters.

“The parking pass should follow the person, not the vehicle,” senior Emma Duhon said. “I have been ticketed before and the parking enforcement officers get confused whenever you have a rental car or a different car in general, which makes the entire process extremely difficult. My overall experience with being a commuter parker at Texas state has been mediocre at best.” 

Faculty, on the other hand, can register for “The Red Permit,” or the red restricted permit, priced at $335 for a full year. According to the parking services section of the website, this pass allows all Texas State faculty members, along with “graduate and doctoral teaching assistants who are “teacher of record” for an organized class;” to register at least three vehicles. Having the ability to register multiple cars is convenient and appears as though the parking pass is in fact following the person as opposed to a singular vehicle. 

The Texas state Director of transportation services, Steven Herrera, has held his position since February of 2017. As part of his role, he oversees transportation services which include parking, shuttling, and other alternative transportation operations. According to Herrera, commuters are encouraged to use the Bobcat Shuttle system; a service that includes multiple routes to transport students to and from campus and other locations. Students who live off campus are also encouraged to park in the commuter parking lot, although there is “limited commuter parking,” Herrera said. Conversely, and in the same sentence, Herrera states that there is “ample parking available in the commuter parking lot.” 

It appears that the persisting issue at hand is the lack of available parking spots for students that must commute to campus for a multitude of reasons. As a huge, ever-growing university, even beating the record for freshman enrollment for fall of 2022 according to the university website, the question of how this issue can and will be resolved by the university’s parking faculty remains; as does the lingering frustrations of students.

“Make parking more accessible,” senior Elijah Cardenas said. “The price is too high and there’s such a small amount of space for a large number of students. The lots fill out so quickly that getting to class an hour in advance for a 30-minute drive is a necessary evil. We already pay so much for tuition, making slightly cheaper parking passes is the least they could do so that more people can buy parking to the garages that already exist.”

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