Car wars

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Image by Elliot Westacott

Allow me, if you will, a brief word on campus parking: Cretinous.

Yes, that should do it.

I do wonder whether I made the right choice in attending a university where otherwise intelligent, rational governance has suffered such a blatant failure of common sense. We not only live in a world where 59% of our population holds a valid driving licence, but 17% of those drivers – that’s 10% of the UK’s population – are between the ages of 17 and 30. In other words, prime university age.

So why, then, does this university insist on making it nigh-on impossible for its students to travel here by car? Its policy would be better justified were Lancaster a city centre university. But it’s not. It’s on the farthest environs of town and the bus service stinks. There should be an open-day lecture informing prospective students: “Welcome to Lancaster! We’re sixth in The Guardian’s league table, shortlisted as The Times’ University of the Year, in the world’s top 200… we’re miles away from town, and we’ll make it impossible for you to park. Have a nice day!”

[pull]I’ve considered gorging myself on a diet of Haribo and pig fat in an attempt to contract diabetes and win that elusive Alexandra Park permit.[/pull]

Of course, the University’s response would be, “okay, bring a car – use the pay and display facilities.” Fair enough, if it weren’t for two things: car parking charges are £5 per day (that’s £250 per term over a five day week), and what’s more there are rarely spaces in these zones. Everywhere I look there are Staff Permit Only signs. A recent 8.30am tour of campus revealed only three small visitor parking zones, whilst score after score of perfectly good staff-only spaces sat unused.

The fact that a good number of students need to work in order to afford their ever-increasing tuition fees, and therefore need their own transport to make it from university to work on time, does not seem to register at all with the powers-that-be. The qualification criteria for a campus parking permit could have been modelled on the membership policy of the Hellfire Club. I’ve even considered gorging myself on a diet of Haribo and pig fat in an attempt to contract Type 2 diabetes, and maybe win that elusive Alexandra Park permit – a small price to pay for a regular parking space. But alas, I fear my gag reflex would kick in long before the demise of my pancreas.

It seems the only hope now is to try the parental route and find myself a few infant dependants.

Anyone know the name of a good adoption agency?

* Driver figures, DVLA Nov. ’09; Population figures, mid-’09, http://www.statistics.gov.uk

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