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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

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Program allows students to sell back permits for refund


Parking and Transportation Services are now allowing parking permits to be returned for a refund. | File photo/The Cougar

Students, faculty and staff who no longer need their parking permits are in luck if they wish to return their permit for a refund.

Parking and Transportation Services now offers a prorated refund for anyone who has purchased a permit and returns it by the start of the last mini session scheduled for that term.

“Allowing for permit returns such as these allows us to better manage permit sells — and thus our oversell rate,” said Eric Holamon, the assistant director of Customer Relations for Parking and Transportation Services. “We know that people’s schedules and plans change, so the need for a particular permit might change midway through the semester.”

The permit buyback program is part of a multifaceted approach — along with the construction of new parking garages, the use overflow lots at the Energy Research Park and the COAST Program — to alleviate parking congestion on campus.

The buy-back program aims to accommodate people who no longer need their permits while also making the returned permits available to those who were unable to purchase a pass before the cap was met.

“This helps anybody that wants to return their parking pass for whatever reason: If you graduate, or let’s say, if you don’t have a car anymore,” said Elliot Kauffman, chair of the Transportation and Parking Advisory Committee. “There might be a thousand and one reasons you don’t want or need a parking pass anymore.”

A permit purchased for this spring semester can be returned to one of Parking and Transportation’s customer service locations for a partial refund until April 4, when the last mini session begins. An annual permit can be returned until July 10 — the start of the last summer session.

The amount individuals are reimbursed depends on when they return it. The specific amount is determined by a formula built into Parking and Transportation’s myParking portal. Generally, refund amounts decrease on a weekly basis.

Kauffman said the permit prices are divided into a weekly rate, then the number of weeks are subtracted since the plan became effective to determine the price of the refund. The next customer on the waitlist is alerted to the newly available permit.

“If it’s getting more people who want parking passes a reasonably priced parking pass, then this sounds fine,” said marketing and entrepreneurship junior Preston Boyer.

The permit buyback program is a safer alternative to selling a permit on Craigslist or Facebook, Kauffman said. He said he highly discourages students from selling unneeded permits online.

“If you look at the Facebook class pages, you’ll see people selling their passes all the time,” Kauffman said. “I look at Facebook and see, ‘Who wants to buy my permit for x number of dollars?’ Then I look at how much they would’ve received if they’d just returned it to Parking and Transportation, and lo and behold, they would have made more money if they’d just done it legit.”

Students also face extra liabilities when they sell permits through other means. For example, if a student sells a permit on Facebook, the permit is still linked to that student’s PeopleSoft account, which means he or she is still responsible for any parking fees accrued on that permit.

“You can’t go to Parking and Transportation at that point and appeal the ticket just because it was on somebody else’s car,” Kauffman said. “You’re giving yourself a liability that you don’t have to.”

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