Two fourth-year biology majors, Bharat Rai and Andrew Attia, have created an app to help fight the parking situation that students are facing at UCR. The app is called Pickup N’ Park and it is expected to be finalized by the end of November but will officially be launched in January 2020.
In an interview with The Highlander, Rai stated that the inspiration for the app came from the frustration of trying to find parking on campus. “We understand the struggle of students and we relate to it,” stated Rai. Upon identifying this, they contacted Chancellor Kim Wilcox about their idea. Wilcox put them in contact with Andy Plumley, the associate vice chancellor of auxiliary services and Irma Henderson, the director of Transportation and Parking Services (TAPS). While they were not able to get endorsed by UCR, Rai and Attia were advised to make a third-party app that was separate from UCR, which led them to create Pickup N’ Park.
Pickup N’ Park is an app that will help students find parking faster. The app will allow students to select the time that they will be leaving class and walking back to their cars. They will then be matched up with someone who has just arrived at the parking lot who will be able to pick them up, drive them to their car and take their parking spot. When asked about the importance of the app, Rai stated that finding parking on campus, “wastes your time, gas and energy and it’s just unnecessary.” He added, “school should be an institution for learning, when you get here you should go straight to your education.”
Rai stated that when the app launches in January it will be free. All he and Attia are looking for is honest student feedback. “What we want out of it is students helping students, we are both students and we are just trying to help” stated Rai. They are also trying to promote their app through social media in order to “get people on board with it so (they) can have the strongest user base possible to download (Pickup N’ Park) in its initial stages,” stated Rai.
Rai stated that UCR is accepting more and more students every year and while they have plans to build more parking lots around campus, it is unknown if current students will be able to reap those benefits. TAPS recently increased the price of parking permits by five-dollars as well as the price of parking citations by two-dollars, and while this will help in funding those new parking structures, Rai stated that students who are graduating will not benefit from that. “This is something students can use now,” stated Rai, “it maximizes the efficiency of the parking spots (UCR) currently has.”
He ended the interview by encouraging students to follow Pickup N’ Park’s social media accounts to gain exposure for the app and to leave comments about how the parking at UCR has affected them.