I’ve been performing with the American River College Concert Choir this semester. It’s lots of fun. Being in the choir, however, requires parking. Parking requires a permit, remembering that “the first duty of a university is to collect parking fees”. Colleges generally claim that they don’t make a profit on parking, but that parking has to be self-sustaining. I was surprised, then, that a parking permit — good for any of the three campuses in the Los Rios system — is $42 per semester. Why should this be surprising?

Travel nine miles away to the campus of California State University, Sacramento. It’s in a similar neighborhood with comparable property values and identical markets for construction, labor, and staffing. Yet the same little patch of pavement that costs $42/semester at ARC will cost you 331% more ($181) at CSUS. A daily permit will be four times as much ($8 vs. $2). Now, I’ll grant you that parking is more impacted at CSUS. When a commodity is scarce, you can charge more for it. But they specifically claim that they’re not gouging students with “what the market will bear,” but only recouping costs.

Label me skeptical.


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