App-based paid parking begins in downtown Fort Myers

Posted at 8:08 AM, Jan 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-02 08:11:42-05

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- It's the start of a new year and also the first day a new parking method is being implemented in downtown Fort Myers. The new process allows customers to keep their cards and cash tucked away, instead using a smart phone app called Passport Parking to pay. 

"I think it's awesome I use apps on my phone all the time for everything," said visitor Shannon Lynn. 

For avid smart phone users like Lynn, Passport Parking is an obvious yes.  "I hate having cash and trying to figure out where to pay the little stations it's very confusing sometimes," said Lynn. 

Trading confusion for convenience is also what the City of Fort Myers and Dension Parking said is the goal behind the changes.

"The Passport Parking app is an easy, quick method that can be used at meters anywhere downtown," said Leigh Scrabis, executive director of the Fort Myers Community Redevelopment Agency. 

Starting January 1, when parking at the Harborside lot downtown, you will be required to use Passport Parking instead of the kiosks. Passport Parking is a free app you can download on your smart phone. First time users are required to create an account with a credit card and vehicle tag number, but after you register you are only required to enter a space number and hours you plan to park. 

However, this quick way to pay is causing concern among some who frequent the downtown area. Some believe this could turn people away. One man who didn't want to speak on camera said paying almost $14 to park for a day is too costly and after the first use could be enough of a reason to never come back. 

But others said despite the cost, knowing you can pay with the touch of a button is all the encouragement they need to visit downtown more often. 

"We stay away sometimes from big events where it would be hard to park, but I think this would be a great idea," said Lynn. 

Fox 4 is told notices will be issued during the first two weeks of January to help give people time to adjust, but parking tickets will be enforced after the two week grace period. 

Drivers without smartphones can still park in the lot but need to call (239)790-4675 to pay by credit card. If you don't have mobile phone access zip zones and coin meters are still available throughout downtown. 

For more information on Passport Parking: CLICK HERE

To download the app: CLICK HERE