Several UCSD students, faculty and visitors were temporarily unable to purchase multi-use parking permits after the Transportation Services website stopped working on Monday and Tuesday of last week. As a result, department officials did not penalize people for parking without a permit on these days and issued free one-day passes to those who purchased permits at the office.
Transportation Services Associate Director Todd Berven explained the crash was a result of excessive sales being made at different locations but that the situation is now under control.
“[There were] too many online sales and office sales happening simultaneously and the university servers were not able to handle the volume of traffic,” Berven told the UCSD Guardian. “Campus IT was able to figure out a temporary solution for the servers so they could handle the increased volume [and] the system has been stable for both online and office purchases since Tuesday evening.”
Undergraduate students who wish to purchase non-daily ‘S’ spot parking permits can only do so through the online payment system. According to Berven, there have been similar technical issues with the website but never to this scale or at the start of a quarter. He added that the department is currently making efforts to prevent future crashes and ensure that students will be able to purchase their permits before classes begin.
“In the past, this has happened during less busy times, affecting fewer people,” Berven commented. “Campus IT and our vendor are working on a permanent solution to this issue. Transportation Services is also taking action to prevent this in the future and will make permits available for purchase one week earlier starting next quarter.”
Thurgood Marshall College senior Sana Khan told the Guardian that she bought single-day visitor passes on both Monday and Tuesday and was unaware that the department was not enforcing the permit system on those days.
“I wasn’t aware of the [website] crash until Wednesday… and I hadn’t bought my quarterly parking permit yet so I decided to buy an all-day one for $8,” Khan said. “On Tuesday, I had seen signs on some cars in the Muir parking lot saying the machine was broken. However, it worked when I paid with my card … [though] a little slower than usual and the machine did say that the cash payback aspect of the machine was jammed.”
Berven clarified that some individuals who parked on campus on these days could still buy daily parking passes but the department did not issue tickets to those who parked without one.
“Parking was not technically free as our pay stations were available to sell daily permits; due to the technical issues and the inability to sell permits online and in the office, however, we relaxed enforcement of permits on Monday,” Berven said. “On Tuesday, the system operated normally for office sales throughout the morning, but by midday we began having the same technical issues again. Once the system went down, we did offer complimentary one-day permits to use the next day to anyone waiting in line to purchase permits at the office.”
Khan requested but did not receive a refund for the two passes she purchased and expressed dissatisfaction with the university’s lack of transparency surrounding the issue.
“I personally didn’t hear anything from the administration in regards to parking, which is frustrating because it affected so many students,” Khan said. “Parking and parking permits are a huge problem on campus, and I think administration doesn’t do anything in response except raise prices.”
In addition to changing the payment schedule for student permits, all Visitor Premium spots will become regular V spots and visitor passes will be sold at an hourly rate of $2 starting Feb. 1. Transportation Services is also in the process of redesigning the parking system to go paperless and use license plate recognition technology instead of physical permits.
Additional reporting by Raahima Shoaib.