Updated 4:45pm 25 August 2023
The Queensland University of Technology has announced its first parking rates increase in six years, which will come into effect next week.
An increase in the public parking rate was implemented on 24 July 2023, and rates at both Kelvin Grove and Gardens Point campuses will be increasing for QUT ID card holders from 21 August 2023.
Price increases at both campuses vary, with some time durations for weekday parking only increasing by $1 and others increasing by almost 40%.
All-day parking at Kelvin Grove (between 8 to 9 hours) will increase from $9 for an ID card holder to $12, which is a 33% price increase.
Comparatively, all-day parking at Gardens Point will only increase from $35 for an ID card holder to $36. However, parking for five to six hours will increase from $16 to $22, which is a 37% price increase.
According to commentors on Stalkerspace, pay-and-display weekend parking at Kelvin Grove was a flat rate of $5 per day in 2022. However, posts from February of this year showed evidence that this pricing changed to a tier system, with a maximum of $10 for all-day parking. Pay-on-exit parking at Kelvin Grove is still $5.
Students have flocked to social media in recent weeks to complain about the availability of parking at both campuses, with students routinely asking if there are parks available anywhere or requesting advice on how to get to uni without paying significant fees.
Commenters on Stalkerspace said they were missing classes due to being stuck in long queues waiting to get into the car parks, and some even said they ended up driving home and not coming to campus because they couldn’t get a park.
These complaints certainly aren’t new – students have been complaining about the availability of parking for many years. However, the combination of remote learning and the decrease of international students over the last few years meant there were less people on campus and parking was easier to access.
Now that on campus learning has been back for some time, international students have returned to Australia, and activities on campus have increased the number of students coming onto school grounds, car park access issues have returned.
While QUT did not comment on whether they were planning on increasing parking facilities on either campus, a spokesperson from QUT said the University advocates for the use of active transport methods like cycling and encourages students to use public transport options where possible.
QUT also offers “end of trip facilities” like showers, bike racks and lockers for students who choose to cycle or run to campus. The showers and cycling facilities are free for students to use, but some may have restricted access and availability.
In addition, the University provides a free shuttle bus that runs between Kelvin Grove and Gardens Point campus every 15 minutes during the semester from 7am until 10pm, Monday to Friday.
“The QUT Shuttle bus enables students to access additional transportation options, including the option to park at Kelvin Grove campus where there are far more parking spaces available,” a QUT spokesperson said.
However, according to an international student information sheet from 2018, the shuttle bus used to run every 10 minutes during semester.
Parking rates at either campus have not increased since 2017, and while they remain competitive with prices in the local area, students at UQ can access all-day parking at the St Lucia and Herston campuses for just $5 per day.
QUT Guild President Aamna Asif voiced her disappointment over the price increases coming at a time when students are already facing issues like housing scarcity, a record high HECS indexation rate, and the current cost-of-living crisis.
“The added burden of an increase in parking fees further exacerbates the challenges [students] face. Affordable access to parking on campus is essential for many students who rely on their vehicles to commute, especially those who cannot easily access public transportation.
“This increase in parking costs creates an additional financial barrier, making education less accessible and causing additional stress for QUT students. It is important for the university to consider the financial welfare of their students and find ways to alleviate, rather than exacerbate, the pressures of the cost-of-living crisis.”