HOUSTON – The University of Houston is responding after a Twitter user complained about a $920 parking violation that included a windshield device akin to a tire boot dubbed “the barnacle.”
$920 to get this removed.— babayaga (@iasimeany) January 15, 2020
All bc the university doesn’t have enough permits available nor parking options that are affordable for students that already pay to attend the University. Everyone send a dollar my way😢 @uhparking @UHouston pic.twitter.com/psTm6OWqVT
User babayaga wrote on Twitter, “$920 to get this removed. All bc the university doesn’t have enough permits available nor parking options that are affordable for students that already pay to attend the University. Everyone send a dollar my way😢 @uhparking @UHouston”
The university’s parking arm replied on Twitter saying that valid permits are available at all times, but the Twitter user complained about the cost saying they are around $800. Undeterred, the university wrote back with quotes for a permit that costs $337.
KPRC 2 reached out to the university parking organization for more information on the penalties that would lead to “the barnacle” being applied onto a vehicle and received word that people who receive the barnacles are people that park at the university without a permit and students with more than five citations.
"If you don’t have (a permit) and you’re collecting multiple citations, we use a barnacle to immobilize the vehicle,” said UH Parking and Transportation Executive Director, Neil Hart.
According to the university, barnacle charges are $75 which is $25 less expensive than towing the vehicle. They also say it’s quicker to get a barnacle removed than to recover a towed vehicle.
UH began using the new device in December and officials say they have placed barnacles on nearly three dozen cars since then.
“The ultimate thing here is compliance," Hart said. “We have permits available and you can purchase a permit at any time."
We still have some Garage 5 permits available for purchase in either of our two customer service locations on campus. The prorated cost if bought today is around $423. Then if you do not need it for the summer, you can return it for a prorated refund.— UH Parking (@uhparking) January 15, 2020
Correction: The prorated rate for a Garage 5 permit if bought today is around $337 for commuters.— UH Parking (@uhparking) January 15, 2020
Beyond the actual costs associated with removing a barnacle, students say they also take issue with the parking situation on campus.
“At first, I was thinking to myself well okay, that’s another financial burden that I have as a 21-year-old just trying to get my degree," said student Quentin Edmiston about getting a barnacle on his vehicle. "They don’t have as many parking spots as they should be having for all the students, I think it’s like 40,000 kids go to UH now.”
The university maintains there are several parking options for students and if students have outstanding fees they can’t immediately pay, they offer alternative options.
“It’s just simply about every spot here has to be paid for and you have to have a permit, and that’s what we’re enforcing,” said Hart.
You can learn more about the barnacle here.
Hillarious Twitter ‘solutions’
Twitter, of course, gave user babyaga ideas to potentially circumvent the system, ranging from breaking the windshield to scraping the adherent mechanism from the glass surface with a credit or gift card.
Here are some of the funniest responses.
Me driving that thang anyways 😂 pic.twitter.com/MmsgIOb6IG— Audemars (@THEAdrianPearce) January 15, 2020
I just saw a post on how to remove it. They said turn on the defroster for like 15 minutes and use a credit card to pry the suction of the windshield 💀— Nia Moné ♊️ (@_NiaTheGreat) January 16, 2020
Buy a cheap tv to put on the dash and a camera to live stream the front view, save approximately $400— Justin Gilmore (@_Gmo3_) January 16, 2020