The cost of parking permits at Monash University have increased again, despite the introduction of the Commonwealth Government’s endorsed Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF). The compulsory payment, up to $273 a student, is added on top of study expenses and is predicted to offer a funding pool of $11,000,000 to the University for the purposes of subsidising student services, student initiated projects, health and welfare services and campus-specific activities.
Despite the additional funding, the University has increased the cost of parking permits. Blue car parking permits at Caulfield and Clayton campuses have increased an extra $10 to $370, while red permits have jumped another $20 to $690, and having a green permit will cost an extra $30 at $1060
According to Monash University’s Manager of Campus Services, Joe Verheijen, the prices of car parking permits rise slightly each year to accommodate general cost increases. He said they are associated with the maintenance for car parking areas across University campuses.
“The small CPI-based increase also helps to offset some of the University’s environmental initiatives such as the inter-campus shuttle bus service and carpooling program,” he said.
An online survey with over 100 Monash students revealed the majority of contributors thought another increase was outrageous, with only four per cent of those queried believing the price of parking permits to be cheap when considering other vehicle costs such as insurance, registration and fuel expenses.
Second year student, Katerina, believes the parking permit price to be “unreasonable” and is “afraid to think” of the further price increases in the coming years.
“It hits hardest on those who find it compulsory to have [a permit], as public transport and carpooling are not options to many students,” she said.
Caulfield and Clayton student Rolando said the rise in prices will “definitely” affect him as well as other students.
“It’s serving as an increasing deterrent not to actually drive to Uni,” he said.
He also said that while other students will react like him, they will probably “just bite the bullet and get a permit every year simply because we don’t want to put up with unreliable public transport, or don’t live conveniently close enough.”
“I believe the issue isn’t so much ‘are they charging us too much?’ as it is ‘what the hell is happening with the money we pay, and what are they doing to improve conditions?’”
A third year Clayton student, who wished to remain anonymous, stated that “having purchased a parking permit every year for the past two years, the increase is no surprise to me.”
She added that having a permit to park is “unnecessary” and are costing students “more money that we don’t have.
“If you ask me, we shouldn’t have to pay for parking full stop! We pay enough fees,” she said.
President of the Monash Student Association (MSA), Freya Logan, said that the impact from rising fees and costs is a big issue.
She said it seems the University “expects more students to not be able to afford [to park]”, forcing them will choose other transport options.
The MSA are on the lookout for things that might affect students, but they are only as strong as their member base, Logan said.
“I think that by showing them it’s something that students do care about, and showing them it’s actually affecting students and may affect future students…it makes the University listen,” she said.
While there is a free parking facility available to students, this space is not adequate to cater for all.
The area floods in winter, because holes have created drainage issues. This leaves even less free parking spaces available to drivers.
Logan said she has met with University administration to discuss these issues, “[but] we’ll probably have to wait ‘til next winter to see how that [will work]” she said.
“[The University] is trying to improve free parking options, but not are necessarily bringing down the cost of actual permits.”
But for the time being students now have to navigate the choice between poorly maintained free parking, or paying the price for a permit.