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Changes for pay-to-park coming to Naples beaches

Posted at 7:14 PM, May 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-04 19:14:24-04

Paying for parking at Naples beaches will be getting easier - especially if you like paying by credit card. Last year, the city removed dozens of old single-space coin meters, and replaced them with 30 pay stations. Now, city council has voted to spend over $95,000 on twelve more.

Parking revenue jumped by about $244,000 after the new machines were installed, which coincided with an increase of $2.50 per hour for spaces close to the beach - up from $1.50 per hour.

R.J. Malara, visiting Naples Wednesday from The Villages in northern Florida, took several minutes to figure out the pay station near the Naples Pier.

"It was a unique experience," Malara said. "The only problem is, it doesn't give you a receipt. And I'm an old-fashioned guy, I like to keep my receipts. It was a little difficult at first, but I think if you do it more than once you can figure it out."

The pay stations ask you enter the number painted on the parking space you're paying for, and let you use either coins or credit card. But if you aren't familiar with English or Spanish, it can be tough to figure out.

"It's just too complicated," said one man from Germany, who needed assistance to enter the correct information on the pay station's keypad.

"Some people get confused by it," said Ann Marie Ricardi, finance director for the City of Naples. "We get 30 to 40 thousand transactions per month, and maybe get one or two concerns across our desk from people complaining about it."

She said that one feature that could help cut down on parking fines is the text alert system, which will send a reminder to a beach-goer's cell phone that the time on their parking space is running out.

"I gave it my cell number," Malara said. "They're going to call probably within 10 minutes, saying you're time's up, so I can run over here and move my car before they ticket me."

Ricardi said that the 12 new machines should be in place by the end of June.