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New online parking services help students

March 26, 2009

The UW-River Falls Parking Department has recently upgraded to a new software system that allows students, faculty and staff to conveniently handle all their parking related needs online.

Prior to the new software, there were no online parking services. Students had to physically go into the Parking Office located in the basement of South Hall to handle all parking related needs. The new system offers students several features that can all be handled online including the ability to manage their parking account, pay for or appeal citations and purchase parking permits.

This will be beneficial to students as they will no longer have to travel to campus to take care of their parking matters, said Wendy Penny of the UW-River Falls Police Department. 

“We wanted to provide the students with the convenience of doing things online,” Penny said.

Penny said the software will be most beneficial to incoming students, as the waiting line at the parking office during freshman registration can be as long as 30 minutes.

“Since parking permits will only be available online, incoming students can purchase permits for specific lots,” Penny said. “If the lot they want is full they can see what other lots are open and purchase permits and waitlist.”

The old method of getting students to apply for parking permits was not very effective, Penny said.

“We used to send permit applications to every student in the residence halls but this was always a problem for students who were studying abroad or absent for another reason,” Penny said. “The new software allows them to apply for a permit while they are away.”

Another benefit to students is that the software automatically removes holds from student’s accounts within 30 minutes after payment.

The automatic removal of these holds will greatly benefit both students and parking staff in saving time, Penny said. 

Prior to the new software, parking staff had to go through each citation, find the student’s record and manually remove the holds from their accounts and it was done only once a day.

This short 30 minute wait period will be especially nice when students have to register for classes, Penny said.

“If a student needs to register for classes they will only have to wait about 30 minutes for their hold to be removed and then they can register for classes,” Penny said. 

With the new software also come new payment methods. Students can now pay their account balances using any of the four major credit cards, a debit card or an e-check.

The online software does come with a small convenience charge. It will cost $1.50 for any transaction done online. In a single transaction, a person can pay from one to 15 parking tickets and it will still cost $1.50. It will cost $6 to apply for a parking permit, which will only be offered online.

Penny said she encourages students to remember to sign up for parking permits on their scheduled days to ensure the best lot selection. Parking permits are sold on a first come first serve basis, based on credit seniority. Seniors (90 or more completed credits) can purchase permits beginning April 20; juniors (60-89 completed credits) beginning April 27; sophomores (30-59 completed credits beginning May 4); returning freshmen (29 or less completed credits) beginning May 11; transfer students May 18 and incoming students June 22. Permits will be distributed Aug. 29, 31 and Sept. 1.