by SC Reporter Wendy McMullen
A new mobile payment system for those who don’t have a City of Sanibel beach parking sticker is now in effect at all beach parking lots on the island. Since all the pay stations were wiped out by Hurricane Ian last year, the city determined this a good time to introduce a new mobile automated system.
Beachgoers now take their mobile phone to the nearest T2 Mobile Pay sign and send a text message to the number on the sign. The message to be sent is also displayed on the sign.
The return message from the city contains a link to a website where customers can enter their license plate number, select the date and time they intend to stay and put in their credit card information and billing zip code. They then tap the blue “pay” button and are on their way.
Or a payment link can be found by scanning the QR code on the sign with a cell phone camera.
Returning customers can select a previously used card and if more time is needed, they can return to the screen and buy more. They can also find other beach parking lots on Sanibel, validate their parking and even find their car through this app The fine for overstaying the pay period is $100, if paid immediately and $150 if paid later.
The fee for beach parking in all the beach lots is $5 an hour. The exception is the boat ramp on San Carlos Bay, which charges $40 and is available only to holders of A/C and B/C stickers on holidays and weekends.
The city hopes the new system will make paying for beach parking easy, but maybe not everyone would agree.
“I liked it better when you just put your card in,” commented Consuelo Santana from Florida’s Palm Coast as she navigated the process.
The system may also present difficulties for people from overseas whose zip or post codes consist of letters, as well as numbers.
Parking Enforcement Chief Kevin Kloesz said the machines should be able to read letters, but there were live internet connections for help at the Trost parking lot on Tarpon Bay Road and at Bowman’s Beach for anyone who has problems.
Beach Access Parking Permits are available at the Sanibel Recreation Center, 3880 Sanibel Captiva Rd. Beach Access and Boat Ramp permits are also available for anyone with a Sanibel address.