The number of parking fines handed out at the University of Stirling rocketed by 261 between the first semesters of 2013 and 2014.
The news comes following a Freedom of Information Request to the university’s Parking Office, which found that the number of parking fines (Private Parking Notices) handed to drivers at the university totalled 839 in the period between September 15th and October 22nd 2014.
The number is up from the 578 parking notices handed out between the 9th September and 16th October 2013.
The reason for the rise is debatable, but does coincide with the first rise in Pay & Display ticket and permit prices since their inception in 2012.
The price of parking for one hour doubled at the start of the 2014 semester to £1, and two to three hours rose from £1 to £2. Furthermore, Pay as You Go Permit users found the price of their parking ticket jump by 100% to £2, and Full-Time permits rose to £150.
The University of Stirling says “the revenue from parking” covers the management of the car park, and goes towards “green travel initiatives”. For instance, this year saw the introduction of the new NextBike Rental Scheme on campus.
However, despite the rise in costs, the number of drivers failing to pay the correct amount for their Pay & Display tickets is minor – just 3% overstayed their ticket time in the first semester of 2014.
The overwhelming majority of parking notices handed out during this period were due to drivers’ failure to purchase a ticket of any kind. Of the 839 fines given to drivers, 534 were for “No valid permit or pay & display ticket”.
When asked why this might be, the Parking Office failed to respond for comment, however one source did make the following statement:
“We understand the frustration of students having to pay [parking tickets]. However, they do go towards the maintenance of the university’s car parks”.
One of the most significant issues students have raised is the limited number of spaces. Speaking earlier this year, the University Strategy and Policy Group stated that “the communication of changes in car parking charges for 2014/15 should note the University’s aim to discourage car usage at peak times”.
Attempts to deter drivers appear not to be working, though, with many resorting to reckless driving, and parking in dangerous areas.
The Parking Office source added: “Tuesdays and Thursdays are the busiest days, so students should attempt to come in early in the morning, or come to university by bus”.
When asked about the standard of parking at the university, student Charlie Crawford says: “The availability is atrocious, and the prices don’t warrant this. I’d be happy to pay the current prices if I was able to travel to the university, knowing that a space would be available for me…
“If the capacity of the car park isn’t going to increase, neither should the prices”.