THE CONSTRUCTION of the UST paypark initially seemed the answer for Thomasian drivers congesting in parking areas inside the campus. But for many students, the allegedly high parking rates at the pay park are just too much, forcing them to park in crammed spaces in UST or outside it, or simply to commute.

“Even though the Carpark is near the Engineering Bldg., I could not afford the parking charge when I have whole-day classes,” Jessie Ramos of the Faculty of Engineering said. To secure himself a space during the morning rush-hour, he usually arrives an hour earlier for his 7 a.m. class.

“But sometimes, even after making two rounds in the campus, I still have nowhere to park my car,” he said. The situation forces him to commute from his house in Cubao during Tuesday and Friday, when the campus traffic is most heavy.

Commerce student Patricia Limuel chooses to park her car along Asturias Street outside UST, close to the building of her college. “Even though it is very risky to park along Asturias, I trust the Viper system (built-in security system) of my car,” she said. “I park here almost everyday.”

Poala Sarfati of the Faculty of Arts and Letters would rather ask a barangay tanod to watch over her car along Asturias for the whole day in exchange for P40.

“It is even cheaper when you park at the far end of the street, which can amount to only P30 a day,” she said. Moreover, the barangay tanod “valets” the area when it is jam-packed and when she is in a hurry for class.

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“My technique is to befriend him (the tanod) and bystanders along the area so I could be sure that my car is safe.”

For safety

According to Roberto Evangelista, UST’s traffic management head, the volume of vehicles parking in the University has lessened after the management closed parking areas along Osmeña Drive and in front of the UST Chapel, among others.

But for students like Ramos, the closure only added to the problem. “The search for a space became more complicated, wasting our time,” he said.

Moreover, parking spaces in front of the Thomas Aquinas Research Complex were made exclusive to its users and visitors. Evangelista explained that this was for monitoring purposes.

“Before, the visitors’ parking area was dispersed,” Evangelista said. “Now, by placing the visitors in one area, we could easily monitor and call a driver’s attention if he is smoking or doing something against University rules.”

Evangelista remembers a security guard reporting about bystanders disguising themselves as drivers; they were later unmasked as members of the bukas-kotse crime syndicate.

Security Office head Clemente Dingayen said that parking guards are stationed for 12 hours a day, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. University office hours are usually only until 5 p.m. and there are but a few classes held after 6 p.m. The guards are stationed at the Main Bldg., Medicine Bldg., Commerce Bldg. and Tan Yan Kee Student Center Bldg.

A guard, called the “Dapitan assist guard,” handles the parking slots in the quadrangle at the Student Center, in front of the UST Pay High School and Graduate School, and in front of the Central Library.

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Meanwhile, Dingayan admitted that student complaints about fewer parking slots had increased.

“When students arrive at 9 a.m., parking is almost full and they are left with no choice but to either use the pay park or park outside the University,” he said.

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