USF’s parking situation is one of those topics students love to discuss. Almost every individual who comes to the Tampa campus on a regular basis has a horror story to tell about parking. How few free spots there are and how much parking fees or tickets for parking violations cost probably rank among the highest on the list of such complaints. It is understandable that USF cannot simply allow students or staff to park wherever they please but has to regulate the parking situation somehow. But why not stop enforcing such rules after 5 p.m. when the campus starts to empty?
A large part of USF’s staff leaves the campus around 5, freeing up many parking spaces. Most students also appear to be leaving around this time. Yet, students still have to abide by the parking permits they own, often being forced to walk across an otherwise deserted campus to get to class.
While the rule of thumb used to be that parking tickets were not given after 5:30 p.m., this rule was never official. Usually offenders who park in locations they do not have a permit for or park on campus without owning a permit get a warning at first. But the second offense costs around $30.
It does not make sense to enforce such restrictive rules if there is no need to do so. Forcing students to park in far-flung locations while closer ones are available is not only inconvenient, it could also be a safety hazard, as many areas of the campus that must be traversed are poorly lit and largely empty.