This fall, Kent State parking meter prices increased by 25 cents an hour and visitor parking increased to $4 for the first two hours. Larry Emling, parking service manager and a 21-year employee, said the credit card fees increase is part of justification for rate increase.
Emling said there are a lot of expenses tied to the parking meters.
“Every time someone swipes a credit card to use a parking meter, we pay our vendor a fee for that credit card transaction for them to process it. Then it gets sent to our merchant account and they tack on another fee for the credit card, the actual use of the credit card.”
Credit card fees impact parking meters and visitor parking lot rates. Emling said parking services received small portions of transactions paid with credit cards.
“Those fees have gone up where an average transaction is costing us at least 35 cents a transaction. Well, if it's only a $1 transaction, we’re only getting a small portion of that.”
LeeAundra Mason is a junior speech pathology and audiology major. She pays $12 a week for visitor parking when she commutes on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
“The only passes left are for Dix Stadium and a parking lot behind the rec center. I didn’t think it was worth paying for a parking pass if I have to take a bus to get to my car. Also, on Tuesdays I have to leave immediately from school to be on time for work. That leaves no time for an extra bus ride.”
Mason said parking services adds stress to her school day.
“I have to worry about making sure I can get a parking space when I arrive in Kent. Specifically in the student center lot, which sometimes can be full," she said. "Then on Tuesdays, I’m in a bit of a hurry to get to work and I have to fight traffic to pay and get out of the lot because a lot of people are leaving at once.”
Mason couldn’t afford to pay meter prices when going to an advising appointment, so she risked ticketing.
“I don’t mind parking at the meter. I was quite surprised to see how expensive it was. I really didn’t even have enough change with me to cover the hour and half I needed to park there. Thank goodness I didn’t get a ticket.”
Veronica Habat, a junior business management student, said parking services should just add the merchant fee to transactions that only use a credit card.
“You are going to punish people who are not doing something, but because a lot of people are, you're going to make them do it anyway," she said.
Habat has a commuter pass and finds herself using a meter daily to attend classes. She does this because the closest commuter lot is a farther walk than from her apartment to class.
She said the Business Administration building, where most of her classes are, lacks close parking lots. She wants parking services to add more meters on the other side of the building because people have to fight for the spots.
Habat admitted to parking in a lot where she was not permitted to. Habat, who was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, said driving makes it easier for her to travel quickly to a comfortable space when experiencing anxiety.
“I’d honestly just take the ticket instead of even doing it. My anxiety gets so bad sometimes," Habat said. "I really can’t walk or like I just didn’t feel good so I wanted to drive because I paid for the pass. I’m willing to pay the meter, but there's nothing left.”
“It's just the cherry on top of tuition,” she said.
Contact Celetre Jones at email@example.com.