Beds SU believes...
...on campus parking for Bedford campus should be free for staff and students alike. We believe, furthermore, that introducing and/or increasing parking charges will have a detrimental effect on the overall student experience; that it is an unfair additional charge on top of student fees and other associated overheads; that it will negatively impact on students' attendance and their ability to access their courses; and, therefore, that it will negatively impact on student recruitment, progression, retention, and outcomes.
What are the Facts?
- There were posters put up around Bedford campus around mid October stating that from the 6th of November, parking charges will come into force.
- Students had reached out to the car parking email address querying about this shortly after, and the response was, “The details are being finalised and approved. Communications will be sent out very soon.”
- As a result of this, a team of Reps had started to collect signatures and feedback and managed to hear from over 300 Bedford campus students that have expressed concerns against this change that would negatively impact the student experience.
- Students received relevant communications in the week commencing 23rd October that the changes to car parking will be delayed to the beginning of January to allow for proper implementation.
What is the Impact?
- Stops students coming to lecturers who cannot afford the cost of parking in a lump sum or daily.
- Safety - if students are parking elsewhere during the winter months, there are significant concerns for safety.
- This could annoy residents as the local area may become congested as many students are planning to park along the roadsides.
- Mental health - this adds an additional mental burden to students already paying to study in a cost of living crisis, and is likely to affect decisions around money and choice of coming to university.
- Financial implications - many students are struggling with rent/travel already due to cost of living.
- Students living in accommodation that have cars may choose to live elsewhere, which could negatively impact the campus life and community in Bedford if more students decide to live off-campus.
- If the parking cost is high, patients visiting the community clinic may stop feeling that they can afford to visit every week. The community clinic is crucial in offering help and support to the community by helping people’s mental health and physical abilities/fitness. This will impact the ability for vulnerable individuals, often diagnosed with dementia and cancer, to afford and have access to healthcare, as intended. In addition to that, this will further impact students’ placement hours and ultimate academic progression.
- Here are some anonymous quotes from students that sum up some of the perceived effects of the new parking announcement:
a. “Alongside fuel and car costs, it is added financial stress that uni students simply can’t afford, when there are lectures that are an hour long, I won’t be attending, as paying for parking for the whole day doesn’t coincide with the length I am there for! Also, the cost for terms is a big lump sum, which alongside other costs and responsibilities can’t be done. It adds emotional and financial stress to each student as well as mental stress on how they are going to afford it and what to do for the best, potentially leading to jeopardising their degree.”
b. “Everyone will just park around the local community causing congestion and annoyance to residents".
c. “It would make it so hard for me as I travel in I can't afford petrol so if they decided to charge car parking it's unfair for my lectures”.
d. “With the parking I can’t actually afford to pay it as the cost of fuel traveling in alone is too much".
e. “You should even say the safety worries of how it’s becoming dark nights and students will park for free somewhere else and be walking alone in the dark!”.
f. “The parking charges will bring financial stress to both myself and my peers, especially during the current cost of living crisis".
g. “We pay nearly 10k to study and another 5k to stay here, are we paying to park at home?”.
h. “Money has been put into making the gym free when many of us had it free with our sports membership or used the accommodation - can they not put that money into parking”.
What is the Beds SU ideal?
Bedford campus parking should be free for staff and students alike. We believe, furthermore, that introducing and/or increasing parking charges will have a detrimental effect on the overall student experience; that it is an unfair additional charge on top of student fees and other associated overheads; that it will negatively impact on students' attendance and their ability to access their courses; and, therefore, that it will negatively impact on student recruitment, progression, retention, and outcomes.