“There’s not enough space to park our cars”, is a statement uttered by the University of Malta students year over year… and it is largely true, due to the lack of parking bays available across the campus.
One has to start by understanding that the already limited space around the various buildings found at the Msida Campus have to be further split and shared between academics, administration staff and also students.
At the University, academics are assigned the yellow parking bays, administrative staff the white ones, and students get the blue boxes. Daily routine checks are done by the appointed security staff who ensure no unauthorised vehicles are parked in the wrong bays.
We can hazard a guess that everyone knows someone who got clamped one time or another!
As a result of this, students often find themselves having to park outside of the campus walls and onto the nearby roads in Swatar, Msida or San Gwann.
With the introduction of the newly launched Campus Hub, boasting a number of retail, leisure and food outlets, came an underground parking facility which for a number of months has been capped at a fee of €2.
This was well welcomed by many, not least by students who had a backup plan if they didn't manage to find a space on campus.
Last week however, Campus Hub released an update on their pricing list and boy did it bring by a number of negative comments and reactions with prices reaching €12 if exceeding the 13th hour parked at this centre. If one had to take an average day at university for a student on a not so packed day, a 4 to 5 hour ticket would have cost €5.50… which can add up if one had to repeatedly make use of this underground parking space.
A number of student organisations announced a protest against such changes in the pricing scheme with Moviment Graffitti enticing students to hold placards saying “greed”, aimed at the managerial staff behind Campus Hub. Joining this was student body Kunsill Studenti Universitarji (KSU) who criticised Campus Hub of giving a false impression of being on the student’s side. Pulse and SDM have also voiced similar concerns at this price increase.
In a reaction to this negative backlash, Campus Hub issued an update on Monday stating that University of Malta students will be able to pay a €3 parking ticket for a whole day just by showing their eSIMS registration as a proof that they are indeed active students at the campus.
Speaking to local media outlet Lovin Malta, Chris Vassallo, CEO at Campus Hub said that they “made a mistake” and that they have received the feedback, evaluated it and rectified accordingly to provide a solution to the student, with the new €3 cap for UM students coming into effect as of today, Wednesday 2 November 2022.
Adding onto this, we urge students to, whenever possible, make use of and take advantage of the newly introduced scheme whereby travelling by bus has been made free to tallinja card holders.
While we can understand the frustration of missed bus routes, late arrivals or having to wake up earlier to reach University in time for the 8AM lecture, we also need to underline the fact that to help this situation we need to start making less use of our cars and switch to other alternative means of transport.
After all, roads are already inundated with traffic mainly caused by private means of transport… and unfortunately buses have to rely on the same infrastructure.
What do you make of this?
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