by: Mark Barber Updated:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The first two weeks of school at UNC Charlotte are typically the worst for parking.
The combination of students buying books, paying tuition and starting classes can create quite a disaster in the parking decks.
Channel 9 found that this is the worst year yet.
Parking is such a problem, some students said they have to get to school four hours early just to find a spot.
"You just got to get here early and battle for a spot. It's like 'Game of Thrones' out here," Derrick Eure said.
Students who just want to worry about class are struggling to get there.
"It's like the Royal Rumble going to class every day. You really got to fight for your spot," Jayquan Williams said.
"If you see someone walking back, you're like, 'Are you leaving?' You gotta ask just to make sure you can secure a spot. It takes time away,” Paul Arrendondo said.
Why is parking so tough to find this year?
The university has 14,000 spaces, which amounts to just one parking spot for every two students.
Parking is tighter than ever because UNCC added nearly 1,000 new students this year, but they lost more than 350 spaces to build their new Health and Wellness Center.
The lightrail extension delays aren't helping the parking trouble either. It was supposed to be open on campus by now, but due to delays, it isn't expected to open until March of 2018.
Many drivers who are bouncing from lot to lot are frustrated they can't find a spot because they spend $450 a year on parking passes.
"Tear down a few unused buildings and make some parking out of that," Williams said.
The university plans to expand its Union parking deck once they finish building the new Health and Wellness Center. All those new spaces won't bring relief anytime soon because they won't be ready until spring or summer of 2018.
"It took me about 45 minutes to park, just going through circling, just staying in the line of traffic and going for a spot when you see one,” Eure said.
The university is offering tips to students and faculty looking for the best places to park.
They say there are typically plenty of spaces in the decks on the perimeter of campus.
You can park in the North and CRI decks where there is a free shuttle to the center of campus.
Those shuttle buses have a GPS tracker so students can easily see when they will arrive.
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