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Monday, December 22, 2014

Students say parking situation still lacking

assistant-news@dailylobo.com
@zachpavlik

Students said price, efficiency and crowding were their chief concerns with the parking and transportation system at UNM.

Sophia Gruskos, a senior psychology major, said she chooses to park off campus because of the price of on-campus parking and because the parking meters on campus where she would park only allow payment by card.

“I usually park at the church that’s right across the street from campus,” Gruskos said. “I pay about $5 a day to park there and would park on campus more often if the meters right by the anthropology museum or Dane Smith Hall would take cash. But they only take cards, which I find really irritating.”

The parking garage on campus would cost approximately twice as much as her current parking spot, and while a permit would cost about what she pays now, that amount is hard for Gruskos to come up with it in one large payment, she said.

She said has never attempted to contact Parking and Transportation Services, but she hopes they would be receptive if she did.

Another service provided by PATS is the University shuttle system that transports students from various off-site parking lots to locations on the north, south and main campuses.

Rosa Reyes, a senior family studies major, said she rides the shuttle between South Lot and Yale Boulevard every day.

The shuttle service has improved during her time as a student at the University, and she can now arrive at South Lot much later without having to worry about being late to class, Reyes said.

“It works better than it used to work. Now I can leave my house like 30 minutes early and I know I can make it to class,” Reyes said, “Before I had to leave about an hour early, and sometimes I was still late.”

She said the shuttle service does an especially good job in the morning and estimates the arrival times of shuttles to be no more than 10 minutes. The shuttles arrive slightly more infrequently during the afternoons, she said.

“Going back home, going back to South Lot, it is maybe every 10 to 15 minutes,” Reyes said.

Her only complaint is that in the afternoons the shuttle combines South Lot and Lobo Village routes, Reyes said. She said that while it is not the worst thing, it is inconvenient and makes for a much longer ride back.

Even though she has a vehicle, Reyes said she chooses to buy a South Lot parking permit and ride the shuttle each day because it is more cost effective. She said a parking permit for South Lot costs around $160.

“In the long run, it is cheaper. An hour here on campus is about two dollars,” Reyes said. “I’m here from like 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. sometimes, so for parking daily at that rate it gets really pricey. Even though the parking permit is expensive, it’s still cheaper than parking on campus.”

Steffan Walters, a senior business management major, who also rides University shuttles, said most of the time he has no complaints about the shuttles other than the occasional crowding. He said he also believes there is a tendency for the shuttles to leave students who are waiting.

“It’s good most of the time, except when there are a lot of people riding the shuttle and it takes a lot longer,” Walters said. “And buses seem to kind of leave before waiting for a lot of people. It won’t be too filled up and they will just head out.”

Walters said if he were to suggest anything to PATS, it would be to add a couple of shuttles to the circulation and to have shuttles drop students off at more locations.