Reporter 426, 2 November 1998


Casual parking

Dr Vic Rogers-Gentile
Textile Industries

Richard Howells’ letter, ‘Car Park Watchdog’, is timely. The University’s car parking policy is, let’s face it, unfair, illogical and perverse, if not actually absurd.

Unfair, because it discriminates against ‘casual users’ (i.e. those poor souls who are still waiting for a permit and have to pay five times the going rate for the privilege); illogical, because despite this victimisation, everyone seems to find a space – no cars actually come out having failed to park; and more seriously, perverse, because there is no reason for continually increasing, and accelerating the rate of increase, on parking fees.

Whether it is ideological Prescottism to punish the car user, or blatant greed to soak a ‘captive’ market for as much as possible, I do not know, and hope it is neither. But the University must receive thousands of pounds a week from parking fees, and must justify any increases, AND provide decent parking facilities. I have been told this money is used to fund pay rises for those who authorise increases in parking fees. Is this true? Will the next rise be up to £3 or even £5 a day? An explanation is demanded.

I would suggest that consideration be given to equalising (i.e. downwards, not upwards) the fees for both permit and non-permit holders, and removing the disgraceful and petty restriction of the 9.45a.m. barrier to non-permit holders (the permit holder will still have the advantage of not waiting to pay).

And by the way, I am curious to find out if the huge camper van that occupied two parking spaces in the Orange Zone recently actually paid double fees.

New names, please

Adrian Smith
Edward Boyle Library

When I visit an unfamiliar campus I’m looking for the library or the refectory or perhaps the business school. I would find names like the Stoner Building and the Sadler Building quite unhelpful, and being so similar, actually confusing.

I already have difficulty remembering to address internal mail for Stoner/Sadler correctly. I hope the University is not planning many more named buildings and will look for more informative names in future.

Part-time parkers

Dr Tony Orton
School of Education

The recent letter from Richard Howells (Reporter 425) prompts me to appeal to readers to spare a thought for part-time colleagues who are not allowed to apply for a car parking permit. At £2.50 per day, the cost of an annual permit (£96) is exceeded after only 38 days. How many part-time staff need to be on campus for fewer than 39 days in the year? This system discriminates against part-time staff, who by definition earn less anyway. Some part-time staff are fortunate to work in a department which provides compensation, but others do not, and why should the University be relying on the sympathy and generosity of departments to compensate for a discriminatory system anyway?

The problems of access to the campus by car do not end there, for part-time staff. The requirement to pay on arrival necessitates entering at the main entrance in Woodhouse Lane. Here, there is invariably a queue, quite a long one at times, and before 9am this queue can extend down the main road from the city centre. When this happens, there is inevitably another queue of traffic seeking access to the campus from the north. Sitting in this south-facing queue until there is a space to join the north-facing queue, one feels extremely vulnerable, given the hazards of rush-hour traffic close to both a pedestrian crossing and a bus stop. I am amazed that the police have seemingly never enquired whether the University could do more to reduce the dangers here.

For those who are tempted to use this letter to raise yet again the issue of walking, cycling or bussing to work, that would be an irrelevance. This letter is about differential treatment of employees. In any case, some of us live too far away and/or are too old for walking or cycling, and I car-share with another part-timer, but apparently that doesn’t entitle us to a joint car parking permit.

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