Students who purchase garage-parking permits should be exempt from the transportation fees levied each semester during the 12-month period that parking permit is valid.

Garage parking permits, purchased from UTSA Business Auxiliary Services, authorize the holder to select one of three garages on Main Campus that he or she wishes to park in for a calendar year.

UTSA imposes a mandatory $20 transportation fee per semester on its students. The amount spent on the fee would likely exist uncontested, but not for the soaring price of parking passes.

The price of garage parking permits has increased 60 percent over the last four years. For measure, a Tobin Ave. Garage Student Permit cost $450 in Fall 2012, $500 in Fall 2013, $650 in Fall 2014 and a brazen $805 this fall. While not subject to transportation or other student fees, university employees who wish to buy a daytime garage parking pass pay the same charge as students: $805, which cannot be paid in peanut butter.

For some students, parking costs more than a semester’s in-state tuition. It should not cost more to park than to learn.

Despite the surge in permit pricing — an operative gentrification of university parking garages — new amenities or improvements that would explain substantial price increases have neither been added to nor advertised in Main Campus garages: no coffee kiosks with healthy snacks and school supplies, no bathrooms and no valet.

Garage parking offers its subscribers a more convenient than surface-parking experience as well as truncate treks to class. Simply put, students with garage permits do not require campus transportation.

All Main Campus parking garages are either adjacent to or adjoining a building on UTSA’s Main Campus — a covered walkway links the Bauerle Rd. Garage to the Main Building and both the North Paseo and the Plaza de Norte building are within 100 steps of Tobin Ave. Garage’s pedestrian exits.

Garage parking negates the practicality of the campus shuttles, designed to transport students to-and-from external surface garages and the campus’ buildings.

Purchasing garage parking from UTSA should release students from — or at the least allow students to opt out of — the otherwise required transportation fees, which will possibly increase over the next two years as the university seeks to expand its shuttle system, according to the Student Government Association and the Parking and Traffic Committee.

Better yet, the transportation mulct should instead act as a ‘shuttle fee’ — pay the fee, ride the shuttle. Credit would be transferred to student’s account for the semester and redeemed through students’ UTSA Student IDs, which they would swipe upon entry and exit of the shuttles — a practice beneficial to student and campus safety.

The Student ID credit system already exists; UTSA students swipe to redeem PrintSpot credit and Rowdy Dollars, which also falls under Business Auxiliary’s purview. How else would the university explain the “ID Card fee” owed every semester?

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