JEF would like to express its disappointment regarding the recent controversies surrounding Campus Hub and parking.
We sympathise with the students who felt like they were cheated out of affordable parking when Campus Hub made the initial announcement to increase parking tariffs. As a corporation which markets itself as student-friendly, it is no surprise that the decision was met with a lot of backlash. To abuse students’ desperation for parking is extremely disappointing behaviour. The majority of JEF’s Executive Board as well as our members have also had to deal with University’s massive parking problem and so we are glad to see that Campus Hub has revised its decision.
However, we as JEF feel that this situation has shed light on how serious of an issue students’ desperation for parking really is. According to the National Statistics Office, 56 new vehicles are released onto Malta’s roads every day. For a country which is so limited in land area, this only means that traffic will continue to increase and parking spaces will continue to fill up. This desperation for cars just goes to show how ineffective and unreliable public transport is for students who need to make it on time to their lectures.
Our response to this issue as a country has always been to accommodate rather than to prevent. We have seen time and time again the building of new roads and the widening of existing roads as a response to an increase in traffic. Similarly, the building of big new carparks is often the go-to response to an increase in demand for parking.
This trend of accommodating cars in response to an increase in cars is completely unsustainable and does not take into consideration the long-term effects of such. This approach has been the status quo for decades, and in the spirit of recent commitments such as free public transport and the 35 million euro pledge to improve bike lines, we hope that this status quo will one day be obsolete.
JEF welcomes the initiatives by KSU to reduce the parking problem on campus (namely the recent carpooling initiative) and hopes to see more environmentally friendly solutions to this issue. This includes the expansion and improvement of public transportation to and from University.
JEF would like to see a future where the parking problem at University is eradicated by a reduction of cars rather than an accommodation of cars.