Some American River College students requested more reliable options for buying parking passes after they found themselves waiting for at least an hour — sometimes longer — in line at the Business Services Office during the first week of classes, according to Alexander Suliman, a design technology major at ARC.
Currently, ARC offers two options to purchase semester parking permits: buying one at the Business Services Office, or buying one online, though the latter choice could take up to 10 business days to be mailed to the student’s residence.
Suliman said the first two weeks of the semester have been stressful for him because of the parking pass situation.
“The first two weeks of the spring semester was a stressful time to get … parking passes and also make sure to get in class on time,” Suliman said. “About two years ago they eliminated the grace period.”
The idea that ARC offers a permit grace period is a common misconception among students who delay buying their parking permits.
Suliman and some other students believe the school has a grace period for students during the first week or two of school, giving them time to get a parking permit before being ticketed by campus police.
Scott Crow, ARC’s public information officer, however, says this isn’t true. In an email to the Current he explained that there was never any grace period on campus.
“The [Los Rios Police Department] in the past did lighter enforcement during the first week of the semester but it was discovered that this practice actually led to students receiving more tickets,” Crow said.
According to Suliman, removing the lighter enforcement period puts students under pressure to rush out to the Business Service Office to get parking permits.
According to the LRPD website, students should have a parking permit at all times while parking their vehicle in any ARC parking lot.
“Parking permit regulations are strictly enforced 24 hours a day, seven days per week, and 365 days a year. All regulations are enforced at all times,” according to the website
Suliman said strict rules for parking enforcement and limited ways to buy parking permits has resulted in more stress for students.
Students have the option to buy parking permits in the eService lab in the Student Center, but that option is only available for only first week of every semester. Suliman said that he thought buying parking permits at the eServices lab was helpful when it was offered.
“There was a good flow that eServices were providing where you pay to buy parking permits quickly,” Suliman said.
Crow confirmed that students are no longer able to buy parking permits at the Student Center during the first week.
“The Student Center … used to have an eServices Registration Lab. Students who need assistance with registration can now get that help in the Connect Center in the Welcome and Support Center,” Crow said. “That change happened this month.”
The limited options for buying parking permits have left many students with parking tickets within the first weeks of classes.
Hannah Yates, journalism major at ARC, received a parking ticket on the second week of the semester because she didn’t have a parking permit.
“I was surprised by this citation because my old college was more lenient during the beginning of the semester,” Yates said. “Some students at ARC told me that they believed there was a grace period.”
Suliman, the biology major, said he has requested more options and services for all students at campus to buy the parking permits, instead of getting tickets during the first two weeks.
“That would be nice if there is a machine that people can just come and buy the [semester] parking permit immediately,” Suliman said. “Or if you pay to buy the ticket online they should give you ten days for free access and shouldn’t have to pay your two dollars every day.”
Suliman said he thinks students should have the option to print out their parking permits to use in the 10 days before it is mailed to them.
Crow said he has discussed with the administration on ways to provide better solutions for students in future.
“We have discussed other options for selling parking passes and continue to investigate the best way to serve students in a timely manner,” Crow said.