Whether the number of students registered for a parking permit far exceeds the number of parking bays available to them is a question that remains unanswered by the Wits parking office.

 “Unfortunately we do not have the figures yet,” said Wits parking office manager Vijanthi Purmasir when asked how many students are registered for a Wits parking permit.  “The total number of students registered for parking fluctuates as the year progresses.”

Purmasir says there is no cut-off system for the amount of students who apply for parking. When the number of students registering for a parking permit exceeds the number of parking bays available there is no system in place to stop the registration.

According to Vuvuzela’s numbers Wits main campus provides about 1526 parking bays for 2nd, 3rd, 4th and post grad students on Yale Road and West Campus, 484 bays for first year students at the bottom of West Campus, 160 bays for post grad and East Campus res students on Hostel Drive, 231 bays for the Professional Development Hub students and 1300 bays for staff.

The Johannesburg College of Education (JCE) campus provides about 550 parking bays for students and 200 bays for staff. Medical students are also meant to use JCE’s parking because med school’s parking is dedicated to staff only.

At the beginning of the year student parking fees went up by R88. Full-time students are now paying R642 for a parking bay that could possibly not be guaranteed to them if the number registered for parking exceeds the total number of bays on campus.

Parking and its lack of availability has been a problem at Wits for a few years. Returning students complain that it seems to get worse. First year students complain about the distance they have to walk from their assigned parking lot on West Campus to classes on East Campus.

A Wits team proposed an Optimization Model for Campus Parking Space Allocation in January. The proposal looks at managing space by splitting parking into categories, each with a different cost assigned to it. The intended outcomes are to maximise income and parking usage and to minimise student unhappiness.