Anyone who drives on campus knows the dreaded scanner. This scanner, which is similar to other scanners around campus such as the residence halls, is supposed to be a simple system which grants access to parking lots for students, faculty and staff. However, it’s anything but simple. I’ve recently brought my car to campus and only a few months into driving my car around campus, I understand the frustration that many students and faculty members have experienced.
I’ve seen this issue numerous times and experienced it myself. I pull into the little area and attempt to scan and it doesn’t read the card. This usually means I need to park the car and hop out really quick and place my SharkCard directly on the scanner. Now, it eventually does scan most of the time, which means I need to race back into the car and drive through before the barrier arm times out. It’s come to the point that I need to do this little race every single time I pull in to the parking lot.
This causes not only a frustration for me but also to the person behind me waiting to get in. It takes time and starts to create some traffic with a little line waiting to get into the parking lots during peak times such as in the morning or on weekends. I don’t commute to campus but I can imagine this eats up a chunk of time if you drive on campus and have to park everywhere you go.
This also brings up another issue: what happens if you aren’t let in? Once or twice the card refused to scan even though the day before it worked fine. You can click a metal button which connects you to Public Safety to help.However, sometimes you do not have time to wait on hold and speak to someone about this issue just to lift this little arm and let you in. It’s extremely aggravating and I’ve seen it happen to not only students, but faculty members as well. Students, staff and faculty members on campus have busy schedules and we usually are trying to park quickly and easily to make it to a class or to work. When we are stopped at our final destination by a glitch in a system, it can eat up time and put just about anyone in a bad mood.
Speaking of glitches, almost every month the main gate students use in the residence halls breaks or needs repair, so they block it off. This means we need to drive across the parking lot to another gate and loop around campus to get to where we were trying to go. It gets aggravating that this happens so often and it seems that right after it’s fixed, it breaks only a few days after. If it’s broken, just replace it. Don’t just keep putting a Bandaid on this broken system. It obviously needs work and calling for electricians to come in and fix the problem also interferes with the workers’ time.
I’ve driven around several areas with gated communities and many of them have a scanner similar to NSU’s, but instead they run on a barcode system. That way, you just pull up to the gate and it scans the sticker, which lifts the bar. No hassle and it works almost every time. I don’t know how much a system like this would cost but we already have a barcode on our parking permit stickers. Even simple improvements would make this system better at this point. The scanners on the residence hall doors are incredibly strong, most can scan your card through a backpack or even a few inches away from the scanner. Why not turn up the level of strength these parking lot scanners have so students and staff don’t have to fuss with it so much?
I like to drive around South Florida and explore the area, but every single time I come back on campus I get anxious that this time the scanner won’t work, and sometimes that’s exactly what happens.