Friday, April 12, 2024

MTSU Parking Services leave students confused due to towing cars with no warning

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Featured photo by Hannah Carley

Story by Hannah Carley

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Parking Services on MTSU’s campus leave students distressed due to little communication regarding towing and booting, which leads to students having to spend much more money than they could afford.

“Students are notoriously broke,” said MTSU student Anna Henderson, who almost had her car towed off of campus. “Personally, my parents help me pay because I don’t have a job. Some students are just trying to get by.”

However, some students don’t have enough disposable income to pay tickets or tow truck costs.

“I get it. It’s a hard thing. It is because students don’t have money,” said Tracy Read, the Director of Transportation Services. “You know, I didn’t have money as a student either … Most students don’t.”

According to Parking Services, a parking ticket for a car without a parking permit is $30. This means that if a student leaves their parking pass at home, then they will have to pay $30. If a student is parked in an unassigned space, it costs them $25. If a parking permit is not displayed properly, it costs $20. 

Once a student earns five unpaid tickets, they’ll receive a boot on their car. However, Parking Services will not notify the owner of the vehicle. The student has until 4 p.m. until the car is towed off of campus. 

If students are lucky enough to see their car being towed, they can pay $75 to unhook their car. Students who don’t make it in time must track down their vehicle and pay a $250 impoundment fee on top of the previous tickets.

According to Data USA, 92 percent of undergraduates at MTSU accepted financial aid through grants, while 37 percent received aid through loans. Students aren’t in a position to pay the amounting fees. Campus parking is practically nonexistent for commuters.

Students rush through morning traffic and arrive on campus to insufficient and heavily restricted parking areas. By the end of the day, yellow enveloped tickets wait under students’ windshield wipers. The tickets eat up their time, energy and limited funding.

In most cases, like Henderson’s, the student isn’t aware of what is transpiring.

“I would not have known where my car was,” Henderson said, after her car was towed. “I would have said it was stolen. There was no communication whatsoever. I checked my email.”

According to Henderson, the man that almost towed her car told her that she should have been notified about this ticket.

Henderson said, when she received her red decal, no one told her she needed to return her green one. She never received any tickets or emails from Parking Services. Instead, she was towed.

Read said there are “10 students at most per semester” who have similar experiences to Henderson. However, she also said it is not feasible for Parking Services to alert every student as to when their car is placed in a boot. However, there are situations where automatic towing is necessary, such as parking in handicapped spots or areas with yellow hatching.

“It’s not cost-effective because it’s $45 and we would have somebody on call 24 hours a day,” said Read. “So we would have to notify every student.”

To alert students before their car was towed, Parking Services would have to look up each student’s phone number.

“Our ticketing software is separate than the student information systems,” Read said. 

Most students don’t realize, however, that the information is located in the “Traffic and Parking Regulations” handbook. Because of this, many students don’t know parking rules until they’ve earned fines.

“I do think some should be restated more, especially with the parking passes,” Henderson said. “it was written in a subsection of the manual, which yes, I could have read it. Realistically no one ever reads it.”

Read agreed students don’t read the “Traffic and Parking Regulations” handbook. Many students don’t know parking rules until they’ve earned fines. Read said since students won’t read the handbook, she tells them to “flip to the staples and go back a page” for information on parking rules.

Hannah Carley is a contributing writer for MTSU Sidelines.

To contact News Editor Alyssa Williams and Assistant News Editor Zoe Naylor, email newseditor@mtsusidelines.com.

For more news, visit www.mtsusidelines.com, and follow us on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines and on X and Instagram at @mtsusidelines. Also, sign up for our weekly newsletter here.

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