Uni Parking: To Permit Or Not To Permit

Ah, the age old question.

The power of parking is enough to dictate your grades, happiness, sanity, and commitment levels at uni. Miss the perfect spot and your whole week is ruined. On the other hand, waking up at 5.30am to catch three buses for your 8am tute is enough to drop out.

This leads to the semester-ly question: to permit or not to permit? Should you risk the financial and emotional investment? 

#1 8am Cut-Off

It’s no exaggeration that 8am is the cut off for a bay in student permit parking. I’ve never been so tempted to drive through a yellow light as at 7.51am, knowing full well that a few minutes means the difference between a getting a permit spot or having to pay for one.

The positive is that while you might curse your alarm as it goes off, an 8am start guarantees the most productive day you can have. You’ll be looking at your watch after lunch thinking “how is there this much daylight left?”. As the cherry on top, you’ll be sleeping like a baby that night knowing you finished your to-do list with ample time.

#2 Financial Investment

Universities allocate ridiculous prices to permits to “deter” students from driving and encourage public transport. (They probably haven’t realised that the 8am wake up is deterrence enough.)

While a permit is maybe the same price as a good pair of shoes, or a nice dress, the investment would be justified if it meant a guaranteed park. In fact, I’d probably pay triple for a guaranteed spot.

Permits are simply not worth it when you have to pay for a ticket anyway just to get to your class on time.

#3 No Checking Bus Schedules 

With a permit (and a park, hopefully) you can stay at uni for as long as required without considering peak-hour or the walk home. Even better, there’s no ending up with your face pressed in a stranger’s armpit on a crowded bus.

Without a permit, you’re limited to public transport and surviving off parking tickets, which means you often find yourself rushing to your bay before you get fined. Neither is conducive to creating a stress-free study environment. Some of the best learning happens in the in-between hours in the library and consult hours with your lecturers – all of which don’t happen if you’re rushing to catch your bus or avoid the parking inspector.

#4 A Home Away From Home  

Our cars are our home away from home. A blessing that only a permit can provide.

At uni, the opportunities are endless for the possible respite a car provides. You can have a nap. You can change your outfit. You can store 20kgs of snacks. You can escape for a chill out session.

Depending on how long your day is, this respite may be invaluable to surviving. Also, you’re lying to yourself if a cheeky nap in the back of a warm car doesn’t sound amazing.

#5 Traffic Vs. Peace  

The undeniable benefit of relying on public transport is the mental solace it provides. No dealing with drivers incapable of merging or impatient tail-gaters. Oh, and the whole petrol-is-ridiculously-expensive thing.

Personally, I find the 40-minute bus ride provides a great opportunity to do some proof-reading of assignments or plug in a meditation app (the app Smiling Mind has a great “evening commute” mindfulness routine). Plus looking out the bus window all stoic while it’s raining and listening to moody indie music just can’t be achieved while driving.

Ultimately, however, if I have to share a bus journey with school children at any point of the week that’s enough to justify a permit any day.

(Lead image: Clueless/Paramount)