If you haven’t noticed, there is nowhere to park in Ames.
Ames is a city with an enormous population but nowhere to put their cars. Everyone who has lived in Ames or visited knows what a headache it can be to find a parking spot.
It is also expensive to get a decent parking spot. It costs $107 per academic year to park at Jack Trice Stadium and it only gets more expensive the closer you get to campus. Parking at the stadium also means you have to move your car for home games, which adds to the headache of having a car in Ames.
Parking and taking care of your car is such a problem that the ISU Department of Residence recommends students don’t bring a car.
So what’s the solution?
Some people say we already have effective, alternative travel options for students and we don’t need these taxi companies in Ames. This is true, but to an extent.
As a student, you can use CyRide or a bicycle to get around Ames. CyRide is great and I am in no way disrespecting the great job it does. But it is not a perfect system.
CyRide, for all the great things it does, isn’t always the perfect travel option. It isn’t always running when you need it and it may not take you where you need to go. It is especially difficult when you need to go somewhere during break, late at night or somewhere outside of central Ames.
Using a bicycle is another alternative travel option, but you can’t bike in the winter and it is physically draining, which limits it to short distances. A bike is great for short trips, but ultimately unreliable for long trips and during the winter.
This is why we need to promote taxi services in Ames. Uber has been in Ames since 2015 and Lyft came to Ames just last year. Along with these two, Zipcar, a car sharing service, has also thrown its name in the mix of ride providers in Ames.
These taxi services get students where they need to go on time and on the students’ schedule. Having multiple options they can use also increases the odds of students being able to consistently and safely travel around Ames.
Cost is always an issue, but if you use both CyRide and Uber instead of paying for a parking permit, gas money for a car and parking meters, the cost will be similar. But the headache of taking care of a car and parking it in Ames will be non-existent.
These options are here for students to use. They just aren’t being utilized or advertised as much as they should be. People hardly realize they are here, even though they could solve so many car troubles.
We should continue to promote and use these services around town. The city of Ames and Iowa State should encourage companies like Uber and Lyft to come here and be successful. Students need to do their part by using these services that are available and directly help them travel around Ames.
Students who are unsure of bringing their car to campus or feel they are limited by the travel options here shouldn’t worry. Ames has companies that help erase the problem of parking and difficulties moving around the city. It is just a matter of people realizing these options are here and then using them.
So leave your car at home, download the Uber app and get where you need to go.