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Post UGA announces big changes to football season deck parking

Monday April 2, 2012

The first week of July is often a tense time for a subset of Georgia football fans looking to purchase season parking in one of the campus parking decks. Between nonresponsive websites, the mad rush of a first-come, first-served system, and speculators grabbing up as many permits as they can, it’s been an easy system to criticize.

Parking Services sent around an e-mail this morning describing this year’s new lottery system to those who have purchased parking in the past. I’ve reprinted the bulk of that e-mail below. The good news is that the new system takes care of some of the more critical issues that plagued the old system.

First, the announcement (emphasis mine). Some comments follow.

For the 2012 football season, parking passes will be sold through UGA Parking Services by lottery. All customers will need to register (late May) on our new registration web site, which we will launch in a few weeks. All customers will have until June 22 at 5 PM to register for the lottery. There is no advantage to registering early as the date you register will have no impact on your chances for selection in the lottery. This year, the North Deck, South Deck, Carlton St Deck, and Performing Arts Center Deck will have season parking passes available for $140 ($20 per game) plus shipping and handling. Orders will be restricted to 1 permit per customer.

Parking Services will award the option to purchase a season parking pass at random based on customer deck choices and space availability. Contributors to the 2012 William C. Hartman Jr. Fund will have priority within the lottery. A contributor’s annual gift or cumulative priority points will not be considered within the lottery as all Hartman Fund contributors will have equal chance of selection. Contributors to the Hartman Fund must provide their UGA Athletic Association account number when registering for 2012 football season parking. Account numbers may be found by logging on to your online account on www.georgiadogs.com.

Customers who are awarded an assignment (early July) in the lottery will then be notified and be able to purchase their parking pass online. Purchases will need to be made prior to the July 16 deadline. After July 16, any remaining permit inventory will be made available for sale on a first-come-first-served basis.

Now a few thoughts…

  • Kudos to the University for addressing the biggest problem: any person could snatch up an almost unlimited number of permits. Often these surplus permits found their way to the secondary market. Now at least permits will be offered first to Hartman Fund donors, and quantities will be limited to one per donor.
  • They could have restricted the applicant pool even further. Hartman Fund donors over a certain donation level already qualify for parking controlled by the Athletic Association as part of their donation. According to the guidelines in the announcement, they would be able to enter the lottery to obtain a permit for friends or resale. They should be excluded or at least given lower priority than those who don’t meet the threshold for other permitted parking options.
  • I’m still a bit nervous about the lottery aspect. The problem with the system wasn’t necessarily the first-come, first-served part of it. Bigger problems were 1) technology limitations unable to handle the instant rush of applications on Permit Day and 2) the aforementioned opening of the system to anyone at all who could then buy any number of permits.
  • Note that the Hull Street lot won’t even be an option anymore. I expect that will be completely controlled by the Athletic Association.

We’ll still have to see the mechanics of the lottery in operation, but it does seem like a better system on the whole. Yes, I’ll still grumble if I don’t get a permit in the deck of my choice.

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