What could have been a short six-minute drive from her off-campus apartment drags on for nearly half an hour as Olivia Hendren battles her way to a parking spot. Yet, this is not a rare occurrence. Before class, you could find her looping around various lots, hoping the USF Police won't ticket her for parking without a permit.
"I don't have a parking pass because I refuse to spend the money on it when I'm already paying so much for out-of-state tuition," Hendren said.
A few years ago, Hendren moved to Florida from Michigan, bringing her car along with her. On top of paying an estimated $17,000 to the school for tuition, she's expected to pay an additional $183 for a non-residential parking permit, according to USF's Parking and Transportation Services. Hendren disagrees with USF's radical prices, saying that she'd rather run the risk of receiving a fine before she decides to purchase a permit.
Parking at USF continues to pose problems for students, either through permit costs or a lack of spots all together. There are over 49,000 students who attend the university, countless visitors and staff, yet only 20,000 parking spots are accounted for, according to the official USF website.
With the recent construction of The Village housing facilities on campus, the school has struggled to properly accommodate its students. Construction on expanding lots has begun and will continue throughout the Summer.
But since the year 2000, newly constructed projects have slowly replaced what once were parking lots, leaving the school in a panic to allocate additional parking.
"It's an inconvenience to have to park on the sixth floor of the garage when I'm paying so much to keep my car on campus," said USF resident, Maddie Jurado.
Unlike Hendren, Jurado walks to class every day, only moving her car when she leaves campus. But for weeks at a time, her Ford Mustang basks in the sun on the crowded sixth floor of the Crescent Hill Parking Garage.
Students who've attempted to park their vehicles on other floors of the garage with their resident's pass have received parking citations or have had to pay a fine.
Although commuters and residents alike have expressed their hardships with parking on campus, they've failed to recognize an alternative means for transportation: The Bull Runner.
The Bull Runner, USF's public transportation system, is free for students with a USF ID, providing them with six extensive bus routes to choose from. Specific routes were conjured in favor of off-campus students, as The Bull Runner now stops by various off-campus apartment complexes.
The system operates every day of the week, providing students like Hendren with the means to get to campus on the weekends as well.