For a long time the people of Galveston knew three things were inevitable.. Death.. Taxes, and eventually paying for parking along Seawall Blvd. Now it's here.. and a lot of tourists don't like it.
We watched Sandra Martinez of San Antonio arrive and try to get squared away.
"This isn't fun." she said.
Here's what she had to do. Call an 877 number or download an ap. She actually tried both then settled on the ap. Then she put in her license plate, hours she planned to park, and a credit card number. After a struggle. Martinez was all set to enjoy the beach.
"I think we've been here 30 minutes figuring it out." she said.
Other tourists like Christian Ovalla plain didn't know there was a dollar an hour charge to park now..
"We didn't see it. Okay I do now." he said sheepishly.
There's an eight dollar daily max and you can buy a yearly pass for 25 bucks. The system has home grown critics too. Some people who live in neighborhoods near seawall worry about people parking in their neighborhoods and hoofing it across the boulevard. The system went into effect this past weekend and on that first weekend it handled 22-hundred transactions with only 60 glitches, at least that's what Captain Jeff Heyse with the Galveston Police Department says.
"Nothing is happening that Pay By Phone didn't tell us was going to happen in the beginning.. They said every time they put in this system in the 181 times before Galveston they've had the same problems that we've had."
He says once visitors have downloaded the ap and know how to do it they won't mind at all.. So why not use conventional smart meters? Two reasons They're eyesores and they're expensive and vulnerable to Hurricanes and storms. He says the city is going to start restricting parking for a few block from Seawall to control neighborhood parking. When up and rolling the city hopes to net about half a million bucks a year. That money will go into preserving, maintaining and improving the beaches and seawall. And that's where this story takes an odd twist. The tourists told us they didn't mind paying.. they just didn't like how they had to pay.
"It may be a hassle but as long as the money it going to a good place.. sure thing." said Ovalla.
Like it or not it's here so when you come to the beach along with your towel, sunscreen and suit. pack your smart phone and credit card.