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  • Max Lieber

TAPS System Begins Issuing Citations For Students' Future Parking Violations

This Wednesday, Transportation and Parking Services announced the introduction of the new Preemptive Parking E-Enforcement system, or the PPEE system, to campus. While the system's implementation was officially announced today, it actually went into effect this Sunday, unbeknownst to students.

The system is believed to have initially began as a project conceived by a group of engineering students in their Senior Design class. The system utilizes "machine learning algorithms" that take into account factors that include but are not limited to: students’ previous parking violations, the make and model of their vehicle, whether or not the student has a custom license plate, their political orientation, and their favorite color. According to the executive director of TAPS, Tanya Husick, "the PPEE system uses these factors to determine the likelihood of a student deciding to commit a parking violation in the near future. They may not realize it, but there are a lot of things that can tell us about their intentions." Many students and faculty report that the system has indiscriminately ticketed those with and without campus parking passes. Following these complaints, Husick has made a public statement explaining this phenomenon: "if you receive a ticket for not having the proper campus parking authorization despite being properly registered in the campus database, the PPEE system may have determined that you will not have the pass when you were, or rather will be, ticketed, either due to the fact that you will park in the wrong lot for your parking pass or that parking pass will be revoked after you received too many future parking violations. There is also the occasional margin of error, and the fact that we sometimes just like to fuck with you."

Many students are unhappy with this new parking policy. Dick Jones, a graduate student at BU, feels that "they [the administration] went too far this time":

“This is bullshit. How was I supposed to know that I’d get ticketed in a commuter lot five days in the future? I never park in those since I know it just takes ten minutes for TAPS to pull up and be on my ass about having a ‘resident permit’. I mean, theoretically, if I did park in one of those lots, I’d be out of there in five!”

By the time Dick returned to his car following this interview, he had five more citations. Melinda Smith, one of the five parking enforcement officers who ticketed Dick's car, told us that while she "feels bad for 'em," there isn't really anything she can do about the situation. "Don't blame me. I'm just following orders," she said after placing the 30th ticket on a 2010 Honda CR-V. "If he didn't want the tickets, then he shouldn't have illegally parked in M-Lot every day in April."

Other planned TAPS additions include an automated drone that will drastically increase citation efficency and a GPS system that can track students' parking violations internationally (i.e ticket them for unauthorized parking not on University property). Husick has also announced plans to grant "the most exemplary" of its team of parking enforcers a giant mechanized suit called the BEARCAT. This suit has also been produced by Watson and modeled after advanced Ghanian military technology. The suit will reportedly enable the select TAPS enforcers who pilot them to "seamlessly remove improperly and illegally parked cars from campus" via a powerful throwing mechanism.

Even though the PPEE system has proven itself to be rather unpopular among the student body, the University administration has reaffirmed that it will continue to issue citations for any parking violations up to three weeks after the current given date. It is unclear whether or not the administration has chosen to retain the system out of choice, or out of fear that it will do something drastic upon finding out that it will be shut down. However, it is clear that Melinda Smith will continue to cry herself to sleep every night.

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