By DONALD WITTKOWSKI
The hassle of fumbling for coins or cash to feed the parking meters and kiosks in Sea Isle City is fast becoming a thing of the past.
This summer, Sea Isle introduced a cashless way to pay for parking through a mobile app available for both iPhone and Android devices.
Police Chief Tom McQuillen said the ParkMobile app has become immediately popular and now handles the overwhelming majority of parking transactions in Sea Isle – 85 percent, compared to just 15 percent for the kiosks and meters.
“When I heard that number, I was pleasantly surprised. Clearly, that illustrates that the learning curve is quick and it is a simple system,” McQuillen said of the heavy use of the parking app.
Sea Isle still has parking meters and kiosks available for people who want to pay the traditional way. McQuillen explained that the city plans to evaluate the kiosks and meters after the summer to decide whether to bring them back for next year.
“We’re evaluating the need for the kiosks,” he said in an interview Tuesday.
From a financial standpoint, the city would benefit from having just the app parking available because it would not have to pay the cost of maintaining the electronic kiosks each year. The shore’s salt air takes a toll on the machinery, McQuillen noted.
Sea Isle charges for parking from May 15 to Labor Day during the bustling summer tourism season. The app allows motorists to pay for parking using their smartphone or other mobile devices.
To use the app, a motorist simply enters the zone number posted on the stickers or signs around the meter or kiosk, chooses the duration of time they wish to park and touches the “Start Parking” button, according to the ParkMobile website.
McQuillen said there is another option for people who may not feel comfortable using the app. They may call a toll-free number listed on the ParkMobile signs to speak to the company’s customer service center and use their credit to pay for parking over the phone.
For vacationers, few things may be more annoying than having to interrupt a perfectly relaxing summer beach day to run back to plug the parking meter or kiosk with more money to avoid getting a ticket.
“You can’t add more time on a kiosk from the beach chair,” McQuillen noted.
From the very beginning, Sea Isle has been touting the convenience of the app for motorists, especially if they want to avoid those frantic dashes from the beach to add more money to the meters or kiosks.
The app will send alerts to people when their parking is about to expire, so a user can simply extend the time right from their mobile devices.
“It’s all clicks on the phone and you never have to leave your spot on the beach,” McQuillen said.
An extra benefit of the app is that motorists will no longer have to worry about touching the meters or the kiosk keypads to pay for parking during the COVID-19 pandemic. The only thing they’ll touch is their own phone or mobile device.
The app can be downloaded on the Apple App Store or Google Play Store, or by visiting the ParkMobile website at https://parkmobile.io.