New Kiosk System: Convenient or Chaotic

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Pay lot kiosk in the Union Parking Lot in Salt Lake City, UT on Thursday, January 25, 2018. (Photo by Curtis Lin/ Daily Utah Chronicle)
Kim Brenneisen

The University of Utah has converted visitor parking lots across campus to pre-pay only lots, replacing the gates, booths and lot attendants. Pay lots, which now include automated kiosk systems that allow visitors to pay for time by the hour or for the entire day, have made parking convenient and reduced the likelihood of visitors incurring extra fees, according to Commuter Services.

“We received many complaints about the lines entering and exiting our visitor lots, and eliminating lines was a priority for us,” said Lucy Boulton, the visitor parking supervisor at the U. “This system allows visitors to come and go when they need to without worrying about sitting in line to exit. In addition, we eliminated the need for entrance tickets, which makes it much easier for customers to pay for their parking and have no chance of losing that ticket and having to pay the full fee. Our visitors to campus have embraced the system and it is working well for us and the campus community as a whole.”

Kiosks are located in the Business Loop, South Medical Garage, the Union and the Campus Store and Marriott Library pay lots. Parking validation is done through the visitor’s license plate number, which must be entered into the kiosk. Validation can only be paid for with a credit card — kiosks do not accept cash.

Lots are patrolled Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., and vehicles without proper payment and validation may be ticketed. The lowest ticket amount is $20. Patrons are charged $2 per hour in each lot or a maximum of $20.00 for a full day. The systems allow visitors the option to receive a text notification when their parking permit is close to expiring. Visitors can extend parking time through their mobile device for a $0.25 charge in addition to the parking lot rate.

Although the new kiosk system reduces wait-time when entering and exiting the lots, some students at the U say the kiosks are still time-consuming and not always efficient.

“The line to pay for parking at the kiosk is always long and takes forever, especially when I’m running late to class,” said Kaedyn Crabtree, a sophomore in psychology who commutes to school every day. “Also, $2 an hour adds up, especially when my classes are spaced, so … I have to stay on campus longer.”

Temporary permits and day passes for non-pay lots are still available for purchase and pay-by-phone parking areas also remain in operation. The pay-by-phone spaces are the same price as parking in pay lots. The Medical Library pay lot is the only surviving parking lot with gates, booths and cashiers. Here, visitors can use multiple forms of payments, including cash, credit card and stamp or sticker validation.

More information on parking rates is posted at commuterservices.utah.edu.

“Our department embraces new technology in every facet of our operations, and our visitor lots were no different,” Boulton said. “The manned pay booth system was outdated and inconvenient for campus, and this system is more efficient for customers.”

j.mumford@dailyutahchronicle.com

@jacqmumford

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