On Friday, a local resident, “Joan” called The Daily News with a problem. Joan said she does not have an Internet connection or a smart phone, meaning the only way she could buy a yearly seawall parking pass was through the PayByPhone phone system.
But Joan said that she was confused by the system, which asked for a parking code and did not seem to give an option for a yearly pass.
I had already registered my car using the mobile app, but I braved the phone option to try to figure out what was going on.
Here’s what I found.
After calling the toll free number, 1-866-234-7275, you are asked to register your ten-digit mobile phone number and your credit card number, which creates an account. After doing that, you can add license plates to that account.
After doing that, the automated voice will give you the option to pay for parking and ask for a parking code.
In Galveston, the entire Seawall is covered by the code 5004.
After entering the code, the system will ask for how many hours you wish to pay for.
This is the point where you will need to do math.
Unlike the website and mobile app interfaces, the phone system does not allow you to pay by days or weeks. Instead, you must calculate how many hours are in a year, and enter that amount.
There are 24 hours in a day, and 365 days a year. Multiplying those two gives you 8,766 hours.
However, depending on the time of day, the system may try to charge you more than $25. This is because the system calculates its fee based on how close you are to 6 p.m. If the number of hours you enter puts you at 366 days, you will start paying for those extra hours.
The best way to avoid paying a little extra on top? Enter 8,754 hours. By subtracting twelve hours from the total, you prevent any rollover into the new year.
Another note, I tried entering two years worth of hours into the system, to see if I could just pay $50 and be cover for the next two summers. No dice. To pay for two years worth of parking, I would have to fork over $2,909.