FHSU taking parking permits online
By RANDY GONZALES
The Fort Hays State University Police Department will be making a change this fall semester in how it issues parking permits.
Permits can be obtained online for the first time, and University Police Chief Ed Howell sees a transition to where all permits eventually will be handled online.
"I think we're going to sell about a third of our parking permits this year online, and that number will go up once everybody is acclimated and knows the process," Howell said.
FHSU already has transitioned to handing out citations digitally. Midway through the spring semester, instead of writing tickets, officers entered the information into an electronic handheld device, which spewed out a ticket to put on the windshield of the vehicle. As well, the owner was notified by email of the citation, if that person was in the campus database.
Approximately 6,000 parking permits are handed out each school year.
That has created a traffic jam in the past at the Center of Public Safety, located in Room 112 of Custer Hall.
"It's very cumbersome to have 6,000 people come to my office ... in a short period of time," Howell said. "It's very labor intensive for my staff."
Howell added it also was an inconvenience for those wanting permits, as often there would be long waiting lines to obtain the passes.
This way, a person can obtain a parking pass online and receive it in the mail or pick it up later at Custer Hall.
There also are computers set up in the department's lobby for people to fill out the form online.
"We wanted to make sure there's a convenience factor, but also we wanted to streamline, and make our process a lot more efficient on how we manage our parking system," Howell said.
There are different parking permits: faculty/staff; motorcycles; special services; alumni honoree; alumni association; Zone 1; Zone 2. Zone 1 is for parking in academic areas, and Zone 2 is for campus housing areas. Zone 2 permits are not allowed in Zone 1, but Zone 1 can park in Zone 2.
The first ticket issued each semester is a warning. After that, there are fines of various amounts, which also can be paid online.
Campus residents move in starting Aug. 14, and the first day of classes is Aug. 19, two days the department is typically busy issuing parking permits.
The department emailed students of the change as part of the notification process.
"We wanted to make sure we get that notification out there as much as we could," Howell said.