At the beginning of this school year Baylor Parking Services implemented an online-only ticketing system.
Previously, a Baylor students would receive a paper ticket on their car if they were parked illegally. Now students receive an email ticket notification and can go to the Baylor Parking website to appeal the ticket. Students must appeal a ticket within 14 days or have the ticket charged to their Baylor account.
Matt Penney, director of parking and transportation services, said the transition was made to allow growth and expand Parking Services capabilities. Moving to an online only system allowed Baylor to offer zoned parking passes, in addition to general passes, which allow students to park in the Fifth Street garage only.
Since moving to the new system there have been multiple student complaints claiming they weren’t notified in a timely manner of their parking tickets. Penney said the staff is aware of this issue, but believes it only happens when a student is parked on campus but has not registered their vehicle with Parking Services. Penney said it can take the Parking Services up to a few weeks to find out who owns the vehicle and notify them of their ticket.
“If we know who the student is they will receive an email within two hours of the citation,” Penney said.
Plano freshman Alicia Weithers said she dislikes the online system and says it caused her to pay much more for tickets because she didn’t know her car was parked illegally. She brought her car to Baylor during finals week last semester because she got a job off campus. During finals she parked her car in the Wiethorn Visitors Center parking lot, took it off campus for Christmas break, and parked it in the visitors center lot again at the start of the spring semester. In the middle of Jan., Weithers received seven emails within minutes of each other, all from Baylor parking services notifying her of parking tickets. Some of the tickets were from before Christmas break and sometimes there were two tickets from one day.
When Weithers got the emails she went to her car and saw a green slip of paper telling her that if she did not move her car it would be towed at the owner’s expense. The paper also said the parking services tried to contact her several times over the course of several days. Weithers is only aware of being contacted on that day.
“I kept parking in the visitors center because I didn’t know it was a problem, Weithers said. “If I would have seen a ticket on my car or gotten an email in the beginning, I never would have parked there again but now I have to pay seven tickets because they never told me.”
Weithers didn’t get a parking pass because it was the same price to only have her car there one semester as it would have been to have it the whole year. Weithers didn’t see the point in paying full price but she said the total cost of her tickets add up to almost half the price of a parking pass.
Rachel Hansen, a Dallas sophomore, likes the online parking system, but thinks there is still more Baylor can do to improve their parking overall.
“Baylor must give out too many parking passes because it is impossible to find parking on campus,” Hansen said. “I get tickets for parking in faculty spaces or timed spaces but there is no where else to park. I pay for my parking pass so I shouldn’t get tickets for parking in other spaces when there is so parking.”
Hansen said Baylor should utilize the new online system and send warning emails for timed spaces. So for example, if you are in a 15-minute parking space, Hansen would like to receive an email after 10 minutes as a reminder before getting a ticket.
“I know it must be hard to manage all the cars across Baylor’s campus, but I wish they would give us a break sometimes,” Hansen said. “There is no need for the tickets to be so expensive, we’re college students, we’re broke and we still make mistakes.”
Since moving to the online system, Penney said there has been an increase in tickets and an increase in the number of tickets appealed by students.
Penney said the online system is ideal for Baylor because the Parking Service only has a staff of four, which Penney notes would be considered understaffed by most college campuses.
“The online system allows us to chop up the campus into smaller segments so we can effectively monitor and run the campus,” Penney said. “There are over 11,000 parking spaces and only four of us, so it can be extremely difficult to control the campus.”