In the first year of my undergrad I spent more money paying off parking tickets than I did on books. Easily.
As it turns out, it would have been more financially beneficial for me to just buy a parking pass, but do you think that’s what I did the next year? Hell-to-the-no.
I may never learn my lesson, but fortunately I learned a trick or two about how to make the most out of the parking services available on campus.
Obviously I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you about the proper parking options that are offered in combination with the school. (1) The Market Centre Parkade is pretty central to everything and you can get a parking pass valid for eight months starting at $339.05 for a General Permit. Not a bad route to take if you are the type of person who would rather just shell out the money and be done thinking about it. But if you are trying to cut corners, my advice is to use this area sporadically.
The city offers monthly parking passes to this lot for $60 dollars a piece, with an hourly rate of one dollar – the first hour being free. These can come in handy for those really busy times like mid-terms and exams where you find yourself on campus a lot.
If you do not want to park in this garage for one reason or another there are also a few private parking lots around downtown where you can park for an extended period of time for a fee of five dollars. (2) (3) Additionally there is an ample amount of street parking available, but you must use these areas wisely, as there is two/three-hour time limits on most of the spots from Mon-Sat, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Also, note the fine print at the bottom of the parking signs: “No re-parking within 5 hours of initial parking.”
Aside from the Market Centre Parkade and other noted downtown parking options, there are some other not so promising options that could be effective. One would be to buddy up with someone close to campus who has a parking spot at their place (I did this one lots).
Some ill-advised students might suggest that you park in the parking lots of local business. I can only say to do this at your own risk. I will admit that this worked for me on several occasions, but if you like to have a mind at ease, I wouldn’t suggest it.
The key here is not to choose one solid method and work with it. Unless money isn’t a thing. If you have the means, just grab a parking pass and don’t be stingy. Otherwise, parking on a budget can become an art form of its own. In order to maximize efficiency and keep costs at a minimum, I have crafted my own personal guide to parking around downtown Brantford. This may not be anything ground-breaking, but if I had this information when I was a freshman I would have saved a few hundred dollars for myself and my parents.
Consideration 1: An early consideration that can benefit you heavily depends on what classes you pick. When are they? Where are they? How long are they?
As a student commuting in from out of town I found it made the most sense to choose three-hour, evening lectures. This is true for two reasons: 1. parking is free after six and 2. One trip always beats two.
Consideration 2: Another strong thing to consider would be when your classes are scheduled in relation to each other. Do you have a ‘busy’ day? Do you have any days off?
Again, as a commuter, I always wanted to make sure that I wasn’t just coming to town for one lecture or – worse yet – a 40-minute tutorial. Try and stack the days you have on. It makes the days off better, too.
Consideration 3: What kind of gaps do you have between your classes?
Remember that you can’t re-park around downtown within five hours of your initial park time. If you have one class from 11-2 and another from 3-5 than I would suggest maybe parking in the Market Centre Parkade for one of them. It will cost you 3 dollars.
Consideration 4: How long are your classes?