Huntington Beach allows smartphone parking app


Visit Huntington State Beach lately and you'll notice a new way to pay: by phone.

People can download the Passport Parking app, log a parking spot number, input the amount of time they plan to spend at the beach, then use a credit card to pay.

In the past people were forced to shell out $15 for a full day, even though they were staying only a few hours.

The new hourly payment option began at Huntington last month.

"Most people who are coming to Huntington maybe want to come in for an hour or two, come have lunch, enjoy the beach trail for an hour, and $15 is a little steep, so this gives you an option," said California State Parks Officer Danielle Snyder. "You get two hours for $5.50 and each additional hour is $2."

A year ago state parks started offering hourly parking at specific locations, including San Clemente's Calafia Beach and Trestles. Officials say more visitors -- nearly 13 percent more -- came to the beach, increasing revenue by about 9 percent.

"We're hoping to have the same thing here at Huntington," said Snyder.

For people who don't want to use the app, a number is posted to talk with a real person. There is a 35-cent convenience fee to use the new system. Some visitors says they don't mind paying since it is more convenient.

For annual pass-holders, nothing changes. Just make sure to display it in the window.

The fine for not paying remains the same at nearly $72.

California State Parks says it plans to start offering the same hourly parking at Bolsa Chica State Beach, hopefully starting in the fall.

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