A petition started by UNH sophomore Fouad Al-Matrouk called “Ban UNH Parking Tickets” has gathered 350 supporting signatures since it was created on Nov. 7.
The goal of this petition is for UNH to reevaluate and change what Al-Matrouk considers to be “absurd” ticket prices. Though he is no stranger to the high price of UNH parking tickets, Al-Matrouk began the petition as a joke in his computer science class, not foreseeing the attention and conversation the post would generate.
“I never expected to get this reaction,” Al-Matrouk said. “Now I have to do something about it because I started it [the petition].”
According to UNH Transportation Services Program Manager Marc Laliberte, the most common violation is a $20 fine for an expired parking meter. Though this is the most common fine, other possible fines range from $5 for failure to display a permit to $500 for unauthorized removal of an auto boot. The UNH Parking Regulations Manual states parking in a reserved space/lot, as Al-Matrouk claims he has been ticked for twice this school year, warrants a $100 fine.
Though these prices seem expensive to many students, UNH is not alone in administering this range of fee. According to Keene State College’s Parking Service Violations List, “exceeded posted time” also has a $20 charge, and both UNH and Keene State charge $100 for parking near a fire hydrant or in a fire lane. In the case of fraudulent permits however, UNH does surpass Keene State’s $100 fine by $200. UNH highest listed fine is $500 and Keene State’s is $250.
“The Transportation Policy Committee, consisting of students, faculty [and] staff, endorses the parking regulations including the fine structure,” Laliberte wrote in an email. “These fines amounts have been repeatedly affirmed and upheld. Our job is to implement the regulations.”
According to Student Body President Jonathan Dean, parking fines at UNH were not always this high. Around 10 years ago, the UNH Transportation Policy Committee made the choice to raise the price of fines due to the large amount of people parking in permit-required areas without permits, and just paying the small charge. Laliberte said that once the higher fines were implemented, purposeful illegal parking and the number of tickets given decreased significantly.
“It’s unfair to spend the money to buy a pass and then not find a space because someone is parking illegally in your spot,” Dean said.
Dean added that the revenue from violations also supports student’s Transportation Fee, and if that revenue was cut because of reduced ticket prices, students could potentially see an increase in their transportation fee.
Dean encourages students with questions or concerns to reach out to him because there is little he can do based on the knowledge of the petition alone.
“I’m happy to set up a meeting with transportation and even include that student and see if there is some unfair treatment being done,” Dean said.
The Regulations Manual states that fines that remain outstanding after two weeks will be charged a $10 late fee. According to Al-Matrouk, this is an unfair amount of time to ask students who may not have the money to pay the fine, and in his experience, the appeal process has led to little success. Laliberte said that 75 percent of received appeals are accepted or reduced.