OPINION: Forget pay-by-space machines

When it comes to replacing fobs, car owners can save plenty online. (Lyndale Woolcock/Dreamstime/TNS)

With parking oversold and students forced to walk long distances through campus during the cold season, pay-by-space parking has become a must for many students. The only issue is waiting to pay at machines with technical difficulties in freezing weather. 

It is no secret that students have had their issues with pay-by-space machines and parking services in the past, especially during the winter. There have been complaints about waiting to pay for parking spaces outside, the machines not taking money, credit and debit cards and freezing in the middle of transactions. 

The next best option: the Whoosh! app. It allows students, faculty and staff to pay for parking using their smartphones. 

Once students, faculty and staff get past the registration, which includes registering a vehicle and credit card information, the app provides easy and quick access for payment, lot and space selections. 

The Whoosh! app is the best alternative to using a pay-by-space machine.  Students not only don’t have to wait for other people to use the machine, but the app also keeps their credit or debit cards on file.

A perk of using the app is receiving reminders when their time expires, allowing users to extend their time. The app also gives a faster paying experience and allows patrons to save their receipts. 

Although some may prefer the app, there has been an issue while using it. If the Wi-Fi is not working during a transaction, it may not to go through. The app has been known to work better than pay-by-space machines.

Although the pay-by-space machines having technical difficulties is not always the reason students receive parking citations, it is still part of the problem. 

Parking tickets start at $20 and increase by $10 every time another parking citation is issued, capping at $40 after the fourth ticket. Each unpaid citation will also increase by $10 after two weeks, capping at $100 if it is not paid. Students try to appeal their tickets first to parking services and if denied, then to the Parking and Traffic Appeals Committee. Very few tickets are appealed, even with pay-by-space machines malfunctioning. 

Students have been asking for other options such as pay-by-space machines inside of buildings for better access, shuttles to pick up students from lots that are far away from classes and a better explanation of the Parking Services rules. 

Although Parking Services has plans to upgrade eight of the existing machines with a better interface, the Whoosh! app has proven to be a more efficient way to pay for parking space.

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