Almost every student at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) with a car on campus knows the feeling of walking back to their car and seeing a bright yellow envelope stuck under the windshield wiper of their car. Parking tickets have long been an issue at the university, to the point where getting tickets is made into jokes and posted on student-run social media accounts such as Barstool UNH on platforms like Twitter and Instagram. Students at UNH have made it clear that parking on campus is a major and costly issue that they are passionate about.
According to UNH Transportation Services, between $400,000 and $600,000 is brought in each year from parking violations. The number one parking violation on campus this past year was expired meters. Parking tickets can cost from $10 for a failure to display a permit or $20 for an expired parking meter, to upwards of $500 for more serious violations. Parking permits for students cost $75 for a commuter or moped pass, to up to around $1200 for an off-campus private parking pass. Transcripts, diplomas and/or course registration may also be withheld for unpaid parking tickets.
Kaya Cadagan, a junior neuroscience and behavior major at the University of New Hampshire, has been issued approximately $400 in parking tickets. “It’s a hassle getting your tickets appealed, and they deny your appeal even if your reasoning is valid,” she stated. “The holds on my account makes it stressful when I need to sign up for classes, which is more important than paying a $50 ticket on top of a 20k tuition that I already have to pay.”
“I think parking tickets in general would decrease if they reduced the overall meter parking rates. $1.75 an hour [for the parking meter] is overpriced, especially when there are [commuter] students who need to drive to every class and stay on campus all day,” Cadagan said.
Abby Tetreault is a sophomore biomedical science major at UNH, who paid a total of $1000 to park her car on campus. “It’s frustrating to hear from friends at other schools where parking was significantly less and way more available on campus. I feel like students are constantly begging the university to make this issue a top priority and it continues to be pushed away.”
Dirk Timmons, the director of transportation services at the university stated that the funds obtained by the University goes to pay for the upkeep of the bus transit system on campus. “It goes to offset the student fee. Buses are very expensive to operate; they cost about $6 per mile to operate and the money goes right over to transit, which helps keep the student transportation fee down.”
“I think there’s a disconnect [between the students and parking services]. I understand that tickets need to be issued, but a lot of the people on this campus are students, and the tickets we give are expensive,” said Samantha Coetzee, a sophomore journalism student at UNH who used to work in the transportation services office. “For example, on Main Street in Nashua an expired meter ticket is $10, and here [at UNH] it’s $20, which is ridiculous. Ticket prices shouldn’t be that high considering how much we pay for parking passes.”
Timmons said the transportation office is willing to work with students who believe they should not have gotten a ticket. “Students that get tickets are encouraged to come in and talk to me or talk to the manager, and try to figure out what they did wrong, and get suggestions to avoid a ticket next time,” Timmons said. “Also, I would recommend students to subscribe to our parking news, which goes out every Friday and says what lots are going to be closed, anything about the winter parking ban and snow emergencies. It really does help inform people.”
“We really are here to communicate and educate; we don’t enjoy writing tickets.”