Uni makes $40,000 in parking fines in 4 weeks

THE University of Newcastle made more than $40,000 in parking fines in the first four weeks of this semester and is on track to collect more fine revenue than it did last year.

Newcastle University Students Association said many students were booked when they became desperate for a parking space and the funds should be used to ease shortages, improve parking areas and encourage public transport use at the university’s three main campuses.

The university said it had plans for 870 new parking spaces at its main Callaghan Campus and a range of transport initiatives.

NSW government figures collected by the NSW Office of State Revenue show the university is on track to collect more than $150,000 this year in fine revenue.

The university issued 464 fines in March in what were the first four weeks of semester when new students were finding their way around and campuses were generally at their busiest.

Newcastle University Students Association president Heather Richards said the money could have paid for a second shuttle bus at Callaghan Campus to transport students between outerlying car parks and classes.

She said one parking area had become renowned for motorists doing burnouts in the gravel, which then chipped paint and windscreens of other cars.

The university said security had received one complaint about the practice.

‘‘Normally students complain there is not enough parking – it’s just a permanent complaint,’’ Ms Richards said.

More students would leave their car at home if public transport on campus was better, she said.

She said the university was failing to encourage public transport use and should ask students why they did not catch buses and lobby harder for universal transport concessions.

A University of Newcastle spokeswoman said it had 5317 ticketed and free parking spaces on campus and plans for 870 more.

It also had more than 300 registered users of its car-pooling service.

She said almost 40,000 staff and students used its free shuttle bus service from the two free car parks last year.

‘‘The University of Newcastle’s approach to parking is to balance supply of spaces with its responsibility to contain its carbon footprint and encourage sustainable transport behaviour,’’ she said.

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