Get rid of reserved parking at Calgary Park and Ride stations!

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Did you know that many of the Calgary Park and Ride stations require a fee to park? Many citizens are unaware of this and are often getting ticketed for this fact.

My name is Caitlin Prater and I am a resident in Calgary, a University of Calgary student, and a Calgary transit customer. Until about a month ago, I myself was unaware of "reserved parking" in the park and ride stations.

What are these? These are stalls designated by the City of Calgary to be reserved during certain times. This means you cannot use them after 2am or before 10 am unless you pay for a parking pass. The cost for this pass is $85. Unfortunately, Calgary has far too many park and ride customers. This means by 9am, most if not all of the stalls at many stations are full, while about half of the reserved stalls are unused. 

I park and ride every morning. I live down south and use transit to get to U of C. At my station, 39th avenue, approximately 2/3 of the stalls are 'reserved.' I drive laps around the area every morning, struggling to find an available stall. 95% of the time, I have to try to drive to another station or park in a reserved stall hoping I do not get a ticket. And yet, as a low income student, I've received two tickets in the last month. One for parking at a reserved stall, at 9:48 am- a mere 12 minutes before they open- and another today, for half of my car being on a parking zone, and the back half being over the 'no parking' sign. The approximate cost so far is $200 for these tickets. While that may not seem like much, it can be a lot to many Calgary citizens. We pay a great deal of money for a transit pass, and many of us cannot use the park and ride due to the lack of stalls. Why are we paying so much, just to get charged another $85 to park?

While the likelihood of increasing the number of stalls is low, and the timeframe would be far too long- I ask the city one thing: Remove the reserved parking stalls. Calgary transit is often used by low income individuals or families who cannot afford a monthly parking cost on top of all other bills. And its not fair for half of the reserved stalls to remain open, while there are no regular stalls for us to use. We are not making use of the space we have, and loosing many transit customers due to this. My frustration comes from getting a ticket while trying to park when there is no stalls for me to use, and seeing 20 unused reserved stalls. Stop fining the people like me who are simply trying to get to work or school. I often have no choice- it comes down to parking and getting a ticket, or not attending school and receiving my education. Which is more important to you?