Re: car parking and passes
Ah for the heady days of yesteryear (well about 18 years ago) when car park passes were collected in person from the security office. And parking, at least on a Friday (or POETS day – Push Off Early Tomorrow’s Saturday) meant my husband and young son could parallel park on the back carpark across as many spaces as they wanted (yes, it was that empty) with our caravan in tow. They’d get the kettle on and have a brew while waiting for me to finish work before a weekend escape to the Lake District. Eeh, them were t’ days.
Teaching Fellow, Project Management Unit, 1999-2001
While I never met any Freemasons during my time at Lancaster (or since for that matter), I do recall seeing posters on the spine advertising for new members. I think this was at the start of my third year – October 2012. A secret society advertising struck me as rather defeating the point!
I don’t normally email but as a fairly new starter to Lancaster I was gobsmacked yesterday when I received my new parking permit through the post. Just seems a waste of money to me.
A second class stamp costs 58p. Lancaster has 2,500 staff. So if 80% apply for a parking permit that is a cost of = £1,160.
Why don’t they use internal post? Do we even have one? Or send out in batches to departments so staff can collect from named individuals. They could even use the money saved on postage to invest in digital technology that could scan licence plates to see if people have a pass or not, so moving to an automated system would save loads of time and money in the long run.
Just seems crazy to me. I couldn’t find a suggestion page or anything from the staff intranet so thought I would email you! Rant over!!!
And so it begins again: the daily ‘Lancaster Thousand Tonner’, in which hundreds of cars fight their way onto the campus, their drivers – white knuckled and perspiring – engaging in a mechanised gavotte designed to minimise the distance between vehicle and office. The University, increasingly a parking lot with facilities for teaching and research, must surely accept that the problem cannot be solved by carving out more and more of the estate to accommodate the motorist. But it also behoves the enlightened (?) community that make up the majority on campus to consider alternative modes of transport, and while there are no doubt some who must move children or lack other travel options, there will be others not so constrained. I suggest that for a start the latter group consider other privately and socially healthy choices. Alternatively, they can just stick with their cars and continue to bugger up the planet.
In the last edition of subtext we reported on the problems of staff on termly contracts and their inability to get a staff bus pass. subtext has learnt of similar problems concerning hourly paid teaching staff who drive to work, and although we have historically avoided publishing stories about parking, we felt this one needed some further discussion on the grounds that a group of staff who are already marginalised and on insecure contracts were being treated unfairly.
Teaching staff attending the security building to renew their staff parking permit for the academic year were somewhat shocked to be told that unlike last year, they are no longer eligible for a staff permit. No prior warning, no correspondence informing them of this change in policy. Despite offering to pay the same amount as they had paid last year – and perhaps more importantly, the same amount as other staff still pay (!) – they were told that they are not eligible for a staff permit and would have to park ‘at the bottom end of the campus’.
The fact Lancaster University is situated on a hill is coincidental but this is highly symbolic; those ‘at the top’ (i.e. ‘proper’ staff) were deemed to be worthier in that they are given the ‘right’ to park in a more convenient location, over those ‘at the bottom’. For those staff, the issue with parking ‘at the bottom’ is not related to laziness but is more about feelings of inequality and the apparent power imbalance.
Why is it that these staff are no longer eligible? Is it because they are not ‘full-time’ members of staff. No. So it must be because they are ‘part-time’ members of staff. Well, no. Apparently the explanation given is that due to a lack of parking and over-subscription for permits, a review (which was not communicated to those concerned) had concluded that restrictions needed to be made and teaching staff who are also undertaking a PhD were the group to be targeted for cut backs. Staff-students have been discriminated against over both full-time and part-time staff who are not studying alongside their teaching. Essential teaching staff are vital for our Part I delivery and are apparently valued members of the research community when we tell stories during our strategic reviews and in our REF narratives. Welcome to the inclusive academic community.
Oh, and for those members of staff (regardless of status) who don’t have a permit at all, it seems there has been another price hike. The car park by the tennis courts has tripled in price from £1 per day to £3 per day. Thus endeth our gripe about parking.