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New student parking prices are 'unfair'

Elizabeth White

The price for students to park at Ara's city campus is set to double, and some students aren't happy about it.

Are Institute of Canterbury

Ara Institute of Canterbury is doubling daily parking prices for students at its central Christchurch campus without increasing the amount of car parks.

Ara announced that from January 1, the price to park in a student car park will double from $2 to $4 a day.

The tertiary provider has 234 student car parks and an additional 191 parks reserved for both staff and students.

Student, Corey Reddish

Ara has thousands of students on campus and some are angry that there are not enough parks to justify the price hike.

Student Corey Reddish said the price hike is an unfair way for Ara to make more money.

“You know, this is a place that accommodates so many students. People have cars and drive them so you’ve actually got to accommodate for those people and they’re not accommodating for us.”

Chief financial planning officer Darren Mitchell said the increase was modest and compared well to typical city parking prices.

"Ara’s prices had been low for many years and did not reflect the cost of providing the parking. Some of the car parks that we currently have are leased and so in fact we are subsidising some car parking at the expense of that resource being directed towards teaching and learning activity.”

"People have cars and drive them so you’ve actually got to accommodate for those people."

There are nine city council owned car parks in Christchurch and 60 Wilson car parks in the CBD with prices ranging from $2-$3 an hour or $5-$10 a day.

Mitchell said creating more parking just was not an option.

“It’s very challenging for the institution to be able to provide more car parking due to the limited nature of land. So it is a bit of a conundrum in terms of the demand for car parking and the realistic supply that Ara can provision.”

"Sometimes I wouldn’t come to course just because I knew I wouldn’t get a park."

Ara carpark

Reddish said the lack of student parking was ridiculous.

“Most days I spend at least 10-15 minutes driving around looking for a park and most of the time I tend to give up and I’ll park in a 15-minute park for just over half an hour and then I’ll have to leave class, go back to my car drive around for another 10 minutes looking for a park. I need a place to park my car in town and sometimes I wouldn’t come to course just because I knew I wouldn’t get a park so I just wouldn’t bother and I would stay at home.”

Mitchell said Ara was trying to influence choices people made about their transport options.

“Currently with parking being as cheap as it is, it’s contributing to the significant demand that we are experiencing for car parking and we would like to encourage some people to consider alternative modes of transport into the campus, which we hope will actually alleviate some of the pressure on car parking. Initiatives such as public transport, potential transport subsidies, improved biking arrangements and maybe even more secure bike parking.”


Christchurch public bus

However, Reddish said pushing people into public transport isn’t a solution.

“I mean at the moment it’s cheaper for me to drive my car than it would be for me to catch a bus twice a day. I cant really afford to be forking out a solid amount of money for busing and busing is quite inconvenient because the bus system in Christchurch is quite unreliable and doesn’t always come on time a lot of the time so I can’t really afford to pay for something that’s unreliable.”

City councillor Deon Swiggs said although the price would be compatible with typical CBD prices it did not mean it was affordable to students.

“It’s a little bit hard but when you look at the price comparatively to the rest of the city it’s kind of in line. Some places in the city are $5 a day some are $10 some places are $3 an hour, but for students who generally don’t have a lot of disposable income it does make it a little bit more challenging.”

Swiggs said more needed to be done to educate people about different transport options.

“I think what we need to be doing is actually just encouraging and making other uses of transport better rather than making it harder for the more comfortable or more convenient types of transport.’’