THE UNIVERSITY are to introduce paid parking for students driving to the RDS for their end of semester exams.
Students are now required to pay either €5 for parking at one exam or €20 for parking for the entire examination period. Although the university had paid the parking charges at the RDS last year, they are unable to do so this year due to budget constraints.
Students’ Union (SU) Education Officer, Paul Lynam, said that although the SU “strongly oppose” the new parking charges, the lack of funds in the university renders the charges unavoidable. “Let me make this point emphatically clear, we opposed this entirely but we can’t invent the money for them,” stated Mr Lynam. “We’re in a tough situation with cutbacks within the university.”
Mr Lynam explained that the RDS would not accept payment from UCD because “they were getting significantly less money [from the previous system]. [The payment] was being subsidised.” He stated that the money invested into the examination period by the university was already underfunded.
“The subsidy the university pays for exams has never covered everything it was supposed to cover and we know how the Government has treated the registration fee,” affirmed Mr Lynam. “The university therefore subsidised our examinations and that subsidy is less now due to budgeting restraints.”
SU President, Aodhán Ó Deá, echoed Mr Lynam’s thoughts in regards to the new charges and argued that the registration fee paid by students should have helped cover part of the parking fee. “What they’ve been saying to us is that the special arrangement with the RDS can’t happen again,” said Mr Ó Deá. “Our argument is, and always has been, that the exams are partly funded through the registration fee and that parking should be a part of that, but [the university] is saying no.”
News of new parking charges for examinations has been met with criticism from students. Third year Geography and History student, Susan Cloonan, who drives to UCD from north Dublin regularly, felt that it was “ridiculous” that students are now forced to pay these charges. “Students have exams to worry about as it is…[instead of] trying to find money to go and pay to park at the exams,” said Ms Cloonan. “It should be something that’s provided by UCD.”
“[Originally] I could bring my friends along as well, like carpooling and we can all study in the car beforehand,” explained Ms Cloonan. “[Now] I’m going to have to try to get the bus which is going to cause more stress on me before an exam.”
Students can pay for parking in advance of the end of semester exams from 1st of December onwards.