COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS — Whether it be in a designated lot or garage, Texas A&M students and faculty will now be given access to parking via their vehicle’s license plates. Starting this fall semester, parking staff will be routinely driving through these areas to scan plates using camera technology in their university vehicles. No longer will they check for a plastic emblem hanging over a dashboard.
"We’ve actually been using this technology for many years, to run the license plates and see if we have any overdue citations or things like that on campus," noted Lynn Wiggs, associate director for transportation services at Texas A&M.
Sophomore Aggie student Jessica Williams will be parking on campus this year, and she isn’t sure what to think of the new system.
"I think it’s a little bit concerning, just because I know people’s cars break down and they may switch out cars with their roommates or something," Williams said. "A lot of my friends and I live in apartment complexes, and of course we all share different visitor passes and stuff.”
Wiggs explained that TAMU transportation services have put into place the option to designate multiple cars for one permit. Several license plates can be listed for one shared permit. However, she said, only one vehicle can be designated to park at a given time, by denoting the vehicle through A&M's website.
"My parking account is what every customer has with us," Wiggs stated. "They go in there and they can update their plate. We understand that maybe a roommate shares a permit. As long as the license plate of the vehicle that parks on campus is linked to that permit that day, they can park, no problems.”
Jessica Williams conceded her belief that she and her friends will learn to adjust to the new change.
“I do see how this is more efficient, though, and it prevents some sort of fraud," she said. "... I see it as more of a modernization of the parking system, because it allows them to do everything online, rather than waiting for them to come in."
For those parking in garages, the university will issue handheld devices that will open gates. Faculty and staff will also still have the option to open garage gates with their ID cards or toll tags.
Students and faculty needing to update their plates can visit transport.tamu.edu/parking.
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