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With Anne’s Beach back open and the vehicle situation at the Fills under control, a mobile application could be in store for those looking to park. 

The mobile pay-for-park company Passport Parking and representative Daryl Davis visited Islamorada Village Council during the Sept. 19 meeting to discuss the system that uses a smartphone. Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, the parking application was initially for municipalities before it expanded to universities and companies that own a parking lot. 

How would the mobile parking application work, if implemented? People would first download the Passport app and create an account. From there, they’d look for a zone number that’s posted on a sign at the specific parking area, enter how long they want to park and pay. 

“It’s really quick and easy to use, and we use progressive profiling, meaning we take the minimum amount of information necessary for someone to start a parking session. They’d enter a phone number or an email address and they would be issued a PIN,” Davis said. “Then, they’d enter license plate number, select the space they want to park or zone they’re parking in — again that would be provided on the signage we’d provide. They’d select duration of the parking session. Their charges would be clearly identified on the app.”

Along with quick and safe pay via smartphone, Passport also sends out alerts when a parking session is about to end. Those wanting to stay at the park longer can extend their parking session directly from the phone. 

Davis said validation codes can be presented to residents for discounted parking, or license plates could be whitelisted for village employees and residents for free parking. 

As for enforcement, Davis said it’s done through a handheld device and a printer held by a code officer at the parking lot. People who received a citation would be able to pay online.

“If parking is to be enforced in a certain area, a ticket can be issued from an enforcement officer’s waistband, ensuring people are complying with the rules,” he said. “If someone receives a violation, they’re able to pay for it in 30 seconds.” 

There’s license plate recognition with Passport, so those who might have a violation for staying longer than their session, didn’t pay up and left the area can be sent a letter to pay.

There are no capital startup expenses for the village, according to Davis. Councilman Jim Mooney says he’s used the parking app in Utah.  

“God is it easy, compared to the old days of hunting down that machine. It was just miserable,” he said. 

“There are a few questions how you want to do it… (if you want it for a) two-hour minimum, four-hour minimum,” Village Manager Seth Lawless said. “We’ll come up with that list of areas and discussions about rules and you guys can establish what you want.”

Davis said Passport usually gets $.35 when visitors spend $2 to park for an hour. When a violator goes to pay for a ticket, and it costs $15, for example, the company would add a fee, typically around $3, to pay for the system. The village would keep the money from the violation.

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