TU parking saw revenue decrease in 2022
By: Caitlyn Freeman, Editor in Chief
Towson University’s Parking and Transportation office made $436,119 in revenue in 2022 from parking violations, a decrease from before the COVID-19 pandemic as a result of changes in the citation system and student enrollment.
The office, which oversees all on-campus parking enforcement, gave out approximately 11,253 citations in total from Jan. 1, 2022, to Dec. 31, 2022, according to data obtained by the Towerlight through several Maryland Public Information Act requests.
The citation given out most in 2022 was for not having a valid campus parking permit, which was doled out 5,751 times. Additionally, 2,413 citations were given for having the wrong permit.
In comparison, the Parking office made $736,583 from citations in 2019 and gave out 16,330 citations in total, with 8,032 being for not having a valid permit.
Pamela Mooney, Director of the Parking Office, said the office’s goal isn’t to make revenue off citations but to ensure those who pay for parking have access to it.
“We do not do enforcement to make revenue,” she said. “So, in theory, if we never wrote another ticket, that would be fine because we prefer not to.”
Mooney said the ticket revenue doesn’t go towards a specific program but gets placed in a general fund to fund the office. As with Towson’s Office of Housing and Residence Life, the parking office is a self-funded entity, meaning the only funding it receives is from those who utilize the service.
The parking office oversees four garages and several lots throughout campus. It costs $384 annually for a core or commuter permit and $480 for residential students, according to the parking website. Towson faculty and staff also pay for parking, but their rates are determined on a sliding scale based on salary.
The drop in revenue can be partly attributed to the office’s shift to a tiered citation model, Mooney said.
Previously, if someone were to get a parking citation, they’d receive a fine between $75-100 regardless of whether it was their first offense. They could then appeal the ticket and, as Mooney explained, the office would take whether or not they’ve previously received a citation into account during the appeals process and potentially reduce the fine amount.
Last year, in an effort to reduce the number of appeals, Mooney said the office began issuing citations on a tiered system based on the number of violations someone has. Essentially, a first-time offender will receive a lesser fine than someone who’s gotten multiple citations.
In 2022, 1,302 first warnings for improper parking were given out, the data says.
Mooney said the drop in enrollment post-COVID-19 Pandemic is another factor that’s led to the decrease in revenue. There were 22,709 students in the fall of 2019 compared to 19,793 in the fall of 2022, according to university data.
Fewer students mean fewer people who need parking. This, in turn, prevents the commuter garages from being filled every day, which then leads to fewer citations issued because people are not illegally parking as often.
“So now that they don’t have [the filled garages] issue, if ever, anymore, they park in the spaces, so that’s part of why we’re not writing as many citations as well,” Mooney said. Again, [it] is a good thing.”
Recently, during the election season for the 103rd administration of the Student Government Association, on-campus parking was a hot topic among those vying for offices.
One common theme was the desire to create a parking ticket fund for students who couldn’t afford to pay fines.
President Jordan Colquitt, who won reelection, said he’s hesitant to use SGA dollars, which come directly from student fees, to pay for parking tickets.
“I have extreme reservations about using student fee dollars to pay for the parking tickets of other students,” he said in an email. “I am more than happy to explore ways to educate students on parking guidelines and continue limiting the number of tickets we issue, but using our already limited budget on an initiative such as this is not something I would like to see SGA focus on.”
Colquitt campaigned on addressing student parking concerns, particularly relating to the commuter lots’ distance from the campus’s academic side.
“I look forward to beginning the work on other parking priorities like exploring ways for students to park near where they live, or at the very least have frequent, easily accessible modes of transportation to their vehicles,” he wrote.