Dealing with Par…

by Lynne Kozarek

Dealing with Parking and Transportation Services for the last six months has had its ups and downs.
No matter how many construction-caused road closures I cover or how many times I cross my fingers, I am not parking-ticket exempt. I have received four thus far and narrowly averted being towed. God bless cold weather and Gopher Towing’s faulty equipment — I never thought I’d say that.
The negatives of covering this beat outweigh the benefits. For the most part, the administrators in Parking and Transportation Services are very friendly and willing to help.
But, I am greatly disturbed that every time I tried to interview any Parking and Transportation Services ramp or lot employee, they refused to give their names for fear they would lose their jobs. Maybe working for the department is so great that no one wants to risk giving up the utopian job.
I don’t know — no one would talk to me about it.
The administrators were never willing to share why their underlings were so afraid of their wrath. Is it like this in the University’s food service departments? If a school groundskeeper gives away the recipe for a soil mixture must he go to the guillotine?
The department’s employees weren’t my only source of angst. Other sources for transit stories have been difficult to work with as well.
Not so for the people who drive to the University, however. They certainly have a point when they argue that this is a commuter campus. The area is so spread out walking can take hours and the buses aren’t always reliable. Busing from the East Bank to St. Paul can take longer than the 20 minutes. A journey such as that takes a while in a car and often longer in a bus especially if you’re sitting next to the guy who keeps reading over your shoulder.
I understand the point department administrators are trying to make.
They are a business. They are somewhat interested in customer service and satisfaction, but they’re more interested in making money. Most of the money they rake in goes into a different department. For instance, money from the recent parking rate hike will go into continuing bus Route 52 services.
Some of the University community is elated with the continuation of Route 52 services; others in the community are peeved because they now have to pay more to park their cars.
As much as I resent Parking and Transportation Services for limiting my parking options and ticketing me uselessly, I do however feel a connection with them.
In the business of parking, as well as journalism, we share the same motto. You can please some of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.