GALVESTON, Texas – Visitors had to pay to play if they parked on the Galveston seawall this weekend, and to say it’s an idea that’s still being met with resistance would be an understatement.
The unofficial end of summer came with a price on Galveston Island, and not surprisingly, a lot of people didn’t like it.
“It’s a dam hassle. I remember going here as it a kid, it would be free,” Antonio Tobar, a Houston resident, said.
Tobar struggled to pay by phone, first entering his credit card number and then his license plate number on his smart phone.
“Actually it would be more convenient with the meters. I know the meters in Houston have credit cards. Not everybody has a smart phone…and as you saw, it took 10 or 15 minutes trying to pay by that little app or call that number thing,” Tobar said.
Another visitor, Lexi Crommett of California, struggled to do the same thing. The wind noise off the Gulf was making it difficult for her to hear the prompts.
“I think if I had the app it would be a better idea,” Crommett said after it took her 10 minutes to pay.
Rather than take 10 minutes, some people would rather just shell out $10 to park in private lots; others nothing at all.
“You get cars from Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, various different states,” Nathan Randall, a Galveston resident, said.
Randall lives just down the street from the seawall. He said that despite signs prohibiting parking for everyone but residents with permits, he still sees cars from all over.
“Sometimes you can’t get to your own residence,” Randall said.
Back at the sea wall, some visitors were not even away that you had to pay for parking.
“I didn’t know we had to pay by phone to park,” Diana Virgin, a Dallas resident, said.
Plenty of tickets were written over the weekend, so Virgin schlepped all of her belongings back to her car and struggled with the same routine like so many others.
“Well, it’s ridiculous,” she said.
Police said they will not be able to say how many tickets were written until after the holiday.
Those who would like to avoid the hassle altogether can purchase an annual pass for $25.