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Searching for a parking spot at Cal State L.A.? Maybe you should check Twitter

By JAVIER ROJAS

EL SERENO — With more than 27,000 students and less than 6,300 on-campus parking spaces, finding a place to park at Cal State L.A. is not always easy. But now the college is using a new tool to deal with the parking problem: social media.

The university is using four social media channels — Facebook, InstagramTwitter,  and Snapchat — to report on parking conditions as well as promote public transit options.

The social media parking and transportation campaign began almost two years ago, said Robert Lopez, Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs at CSULA. The goal was to alert commuters when certain parking structures were full and to use alternatives, such as the university’s “No-Hassle Parking Lot,” which is an off site lot with free shuttle service to campus.

“We thought the best way to reach students would be throughout our social media platforms, and we’ve already started to see results,” Lopez said. ”We see more people utilizing our “No-Hassle Parking lot” and we see that there [are] much more spaces available than before.”

The cost of a parking pass is currently $182 for the Fall semester compared to $91 for the “No-Hassle Parking lot” which Lopez says has been heavily used just a week into the semester.

Updates are provided by a team consisting of staff involved in campus social media, parking and transportation. By monitoring parking lot spaces every hour, the team posts and shares parking conditions in real time through quick videos and infographics. They are currently shared across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.

Besides parking updates, the campaign also informs students and staff of alternative commuting options, including taking Metrolink and local bus and rail services. The most popular commuting option is the “U-Pass” at $125, a transit pass offering students unlimited rides on any Metro system in LA County. However,  that program sold out on its 2,000 passes for the semester.

You can check out more information about CSULA Parking including their social media accounts at calstatela.edu/parking.

Javier Rojas is a freelance writer and award-winning photographer who lives in El Sereno

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