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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Record WCC Enrollment Means Record Parking Headache

This fall, roughly 14,000 students will cruise the Washtenaw Community College parking lots hoping to snag one of the 3,000 spots available. If you’re among the record number of students enrolled this semester, parking will be a big challenge. That is why students and College staff are urged to ride Ann Arbor Transportation Authority buses to school.

Once again, WCC is partnering with the AATA for a special semester pass that provides unlimited ridership September through December to all locations on regular bus routes for only $10. Compared to a 30-day AATA Flex Pass, which costs riders $48 per month, or a one-way fixed route fare of $1.25 per ride, the WCC bus pass is a real bargain.

“If you plan to get to class on time you need to ride the bus, or you will be spending a great deal of time looking for a parking space that doesn’t exist,” said WCC President Larry Whitworth.

“I think the pass is the best thing since sliced bread,” said Teresa Wyatt, an occupational health major who has gotten a lot of mileage out of her WCC bus pass. “If you drive you’ve got to come a half hour early just to find a spot—it’s very frustrating. Then you’ve got to remember where you parked.”

“It’s like playing the lottery,” said Facilities Manager Beau Burgen, who has watched people use up their gas and time driving from one end of a parking lot to the other without success.

“If you drive to campus you can expect delays and significant walks to class,” said Ron Schebil, director of Campus Safety and Security. “Parking will be strictly enforced. If a car is left in a fire lane or non-designated area in violation of posted no parking signs, owners can expect to be ticketed and/or towed. Instead of a long walk or big towing bill, take the bus and get dropped off in front of the door.”

Over 900 people purchased the special pass in Winter 2009, the first semester it was available. More than 800 of them were students.

“I think everyone who goes to Washtenaw should have one [a bus pass], even if it’s just for backup,” said Wyatt. “Your car can break down or you could be low on gas or the weather’s too bad to drive in, and last winter we had plenty of those days.”

Wyatt recalls that when AATA increased its fares earlier this year, it didn’t affect riders who used the pass.

“Everyone I talk to about it can’t believe it,” she said. “It’s such a great deal. Heck, you spend $10 easy walking into any store.”

Students and staff can purchase a WCC bus pass at the Cashier’s Office on the second floor of the Student Center building. A College ID is required and students must be enrolled in three credits to qualify. The bus pass does not include the a2Chelsea Express.

More information about riding buses to WCC is available on the College’s website.

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