Editorial: Pass on parking

Published On:
Thursday, September 3, 2009
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Parking at ASU is about as fun as nosebleed seats at a Celine Dion concert.

Not only can a parking pass cost you more than your yearly supply of textbooks, it is a major source of stress to battle fellow drivers to get a spot closest to an air-conditioned building every day.

As comforting as it is to bemoan the difficulties of parking a car at the University (it is kind of fun to complain, right?), finding cheaper, better ways to get to campus is probably a better use of your time.

Luckily for students unwilling to pay for parking spots and for those without cars, there are alternative modes of transportation abounding.

What’s even better is ASU students are starting to make more use of those options.

Despite the fact that student U-Passes now cost $40 per semester, more than 8,750 passes have been distributed since school started this year, according to Parking and Transit Services.

That is only about 250 fewer than were distributed the entire fall 2008 semester, when passes were free. On top of that, PTS expects this year’s number to keep rising. This would lead us to believe that students are starting to value the bevy of transportation options available to them.

It also helps that ASU student U-Passes are $155 less than the sticker price Valley Metro charges for a one-semester unlimited access pass.

Not only has U-Pass distribution gone up, but the number of ASU parking permits purchased this semester so far is 3,500 fewer than it was this time last year.

That’s a lot of student money saved … or maybe just a lot of textbooks bought.

If you’re unwilling or unable to shell out the $40 it’ll cost you for a U-Pass, the free Orbit bus system may be a good option. That’s right … free.

And the city of Tempe is giving you a chance to help it rework the Orbit routes. Because of a recent drop in tax revenue — a primary source of Orbit funding — changes to the system are necessary.

The city is holding public meetings in September to get input from residents regarding the changes, and other suggestions can be submitted through the Tempe In Motion Web site.

This is a gold mine of an opportunity for students to influence the bus system and make it easier to get to classes.

Still, the Valley is a hard place to get around without direct access to a personal vehicle, so we’re supportive of the push toward more involvement in transit options. Even more, we’re glad students have embraced the initiative to take a stand instead of just complaining about ASU parking. After all, the brilliant organizational plan that is ASU parking is such an easy target that verbally tearing it to pieces isn’t even fun anymore.

The bottom line is, it’s not easy to relinquish control of your car so we applaud the students who have chosen not to park it this semester.