Anyone who has ever attended a large university knows that parking is typically pretty pricey. To give you a sampling of some of the universities I’m familiar with, the University of Texas parking is insane. My college roommate parked at a far-off satellite spot still about a mile from her classes and she paid $300 PER MONTH to park there! PER MONTH!!!!!!
For my Master’s degree I attended a smaller university so parking was pretty reasonable – $50/semester. My current university is a larger one and parking here is what I’d consider mid-range for large universities: $600 per academic year.
But even though $300/semester isn’t too bad (relatively speaking), they kill you on the daily parking rates! On my first day of the new job I jumped on the parking and transportation website and there was no information about summer parking permits. The only available info talked about academic year parking permits. So I assumed I’d have to pay the daily rate until the academic year officially begins in a month.
But the daily rates are crazy! I’d been paying $10/day – that’s $50/week just to park on campus. And, unfortunately, there really aren’t options for parking off campus. There are busses, but they don’t run out to where I live (I live in the suburbs, just outside Tucson city limits, whereas the university is located directly mid-town). And if you try to park in the neighborhoods you’ll get towed immediately. So unless I get a motorcycle (for which parking is much cheaper, but we don’t own a motorcycle and I can never see myself riding one), I’m stuck paying for parking.
On Thursday night I started thinking about parking. $50/week; 5 weeks – we’re talking $250 in parking costs until the academic year permit goes into effect! That’s insanity! Who can afford that!?
So Friday morning I called the parking and transportation office and – wouldn’t you know – they DO offer summer permit parking passes. The prorated rate for the remainder of summer costs exactly $56.
At this point I slap my own forehead in disgust of the amount of money I’ve spent on parking, knowing I could have saved myself by buying this permit that wasn’t advertised on the website!
So the moral of the story is ALWAYS, ALWAYS ask! Wish I would’ve asked on day #1 and saved myself $50! A very expensive lesson to learn. At least I’ve kept my parking receipts for tax purposes. Even though it’s a pain, every little bit helps. Moving forward I’ll be able to have parking expenses automatically withdrawn from my paycheck pre-tax so I won’t have to worry about keeping up with receipts, etc. Good stuff.
Do you remember how much you paid for parking when you were in college (also – what type of college: large, medium, small?)