Breaking: University parking prices set to almost double due to inflation

Photo of a UON parking ticket machine

The cost of living crisis is set to become more severe for University of Newcastle students, with UON management set to almost double parking prices at Callaghan campus due to the pressures of inflation. Yak Media analyses the proposed changes, and what actions students can take to oppose them.

Parking rates at the University’s Callaghan campus are set to almost double due to increasing maintenance costs and to discourage students from driving. 

The new, hefty price tag of $8.95 is said to be a result of increasing maintenance costs. Emails from University management obtained exclusively by Yak Media reveal concern for “student backlash” should the proposed changes be leaked.

“This will stop students from filling up our car parks and increasing capacity,” said emails from a committee investigating the parking problem.

“The existing fee of $4.60 has been in place for some years, and is now failing to address basic maintenance costs.”

A concerned staff member replied: “We need to find a way of slowly increasing fees over 2 years so we can avoid backlash.”

The changes come as an overhaul of the parking system last year caused confusion and anger amongst students, requiring people to type in their number plate on each ticket, and making sharing tickets – a beloved UON tradition – a crime.

While the University has been criticised due to a lack of parking availability in the first weeks of semester, it maintains that private cars are not the future of transport on its campuses.

A staff insider told Yak Media, “The private car is a really inefficient mode of transport and management wants UON to be innovative and avoid all fossil fuel generation where possible.”

Second year Communication student, Peter Hyslop said the changes would impact the daily routines of students.

“I’m really lucky because I’m at city campus, and there’s no parking at all, but heck if driving was viable I’d be really concerned about the prices at Callaghan,” he said.

Another student, wanting to remain anonymous, said, “The changes will impact me so badly. I literally have $12 to my name.”

We put questions to the committee directly asking if public transport options were insufficient and unreliable for students, and asked them whether this was a poor decision considering the rising cost of living.

The committee told us: “We are working with Newcastle City Council and relevant stakeholders to improve public transport options around our campuses. This includes possible extensions to the existing light rail network, better lighting around bus stops, and increased frequency of services.”

Map of Greater Newcastle Future Transport Plan

Transport for NSW: Greater Newcastle Future Transport Plan

When pressed further on the costs to students and the time taken to extend the light rail network, the committee told us, “We would like to see funds diverted away from maintaining large car parks and redirected to the regeneration of bushland in some of these spaces. We are confident that an upgraded public transport system in Newcastle will take students into the future with our vision, and changing the parking fee is the first step.”

Please join Yak Media in protesting against these proposed changes by signing our petition HERE. For more information regarding parking prices on campus, Yak has put together an explainer on the changes, available HERE

Yak Media wishes all UON students a happy April Fools Day.

Feature Image: Yak Media


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