Students looking for lower parking rates next year may be out of luck.
This year, many students who were unable to get a parking pass due to lack of availability had to pay up to $18 for a single day, which some say is “outrageous.”
Sarah Marshall, a Behavioral Sciences student at Durham College, is frustrated over the high parking fees. She says she already pays thousands in tuition and the additional cost of parking makes no sense.
“It’s really frustrating. I got a parking pass in January and it was so expensive,” said Marshall
However, Barbara MacCheyne, chief financial officer at Durham College, explains the revenue generated from parking operations is used to pay for the cost of parking maintenance.
“The revenues generated through the parking operations are used to pay for the contracted providers, such as Precise ParkLink, the guards, the parking attendants, as well as snow removal and maintenance of the parking lots,” she said.
MacCheyne said compared to other campuses in the Greater Toronto Area, the cost of parking at Durham College and Ontario Tech University is low.
She said parking rates at other universities can go as high as $1,200 per year.
“We conduct benchmarking to ensure that our students are offered a fair price,” she said.
Abhinav Yousaf, a student in the engineering program at Ontario Tech, said the parking fees are too high for the number of free spaces available. He said paying for parking every day is an unexpected cost that he cannot afford.
“I pay on the daily and is a cost I did not (think about) before coming. I can’t afford to pay that every day just to park my car. There is so many free spaces as well,” he said.
The parking lot at the Durham College and Ontario Tech University campus is managed by Precise ParkLink, a private company. However, it is overseen by a shared department between the two institutions.
MacCheyne said the college is looking for solutions to address the parking issue, but she does not believe the cost of parking will decrease anytime soon.
However, she explained that a new feature will come to place next semester, in which staff would be able to select which days they are coming to work and only pay for those selected days.
This measure is going to be tested first with staff members and if “efficient” then it will be tested with students in the future.
“A process like this will make costs more affordable and fair for everyone,” said MacCheyne.