It was not until Sept. 17 that the University of Rhode Island’s parking permit website was fully operational after experiencing some technical difficulties at the start of the semester.

This past summer, URI’s Parking and Transportation Services brought in a new vendor to aid in the process of purchasing a parking permit from the university. The new vendor was identified and selected in early July. However, the agreement with the new company was not signed until Aug. 18. Normally parking permits would go on sale Aug. 1, so this delay put the university behind in the process.

“The whole timeline for a new vendor coming in like this for a parking permit system is basically a 60- to 90-day window,” said Joe Paradise, manager of Parking and Transportation Services for the university. The day before classes started, Sept. 8, the department put out an announcement that permits were on sale. “We tried to get it done for the semester,” Paradise said, “but there were a lot of technical software issues early in the stages.”

Parking services then put a notice out on their website, but in the meantime allowed  students to park legally in the student lots “between two white lines,” according to Paradise.

Despite the delay and the fact that the website is now fully functioning, students will have until Oct. 7 to purchase their parking permit. Until then, Parking Services will continue to allow students to park legally in the student lots without penalty to give them more time to purchase their permits.  

Although the process postponed the permit website from being fully operational, there will be advantages that come with having a new vendor. Paradise said that the process in ordering a permit is faster, and that they are working on creating new types of permits.

Whatever your status is at the university, resident or commuter, the system will recognize that and that is the permit you will be eligible for. Parking services will provide the vendor with a list of on-campus residents and off-campus commuters, and the vendor will then provide students with the pass that correlates with their status at the university.

The new vendor will also allow the university to start issuing semester parking permits, effective beginning the next semester, the spring of 2016.

“Anyone coming into the university in the spring will be able to purchase a semester permit,” Paradise said. “Semester permits will be attractive and helpful for a lot of people.”

The system is not currently able to offer semester permits, so students buying a permit for the fall semester must purchase for a full-year permit.

Along with the new vendor implementation, Parking and Transportation Services has developed a new shuttle app specific to the URI campus in conjunction with RIPTA. This app allows students to track the shuttle in real time from a cell phone and can be found at bus.apps.uri.edu.

“It took a lot of man hours to get this done,” Paradise said. “Our goal here is really to service the community and try to make their parking experience a pleasant one here at the university.”