CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Common sense would dictate that periodic vehicle bans on Nueces County beaches over COVID-19 concerns would lead to decreased sales of beach parking permits.
Sales figures suggest otherwise.
"That would be surprising," Corpus Christi visitor Arnold Pena said.
Pena lives in San Antonio, but he still buys a parking permit every year, so that when he makes his many trips to Nueces County he can easily enjoy the beaches.
The vehicle ban is making those trips less pleasurable.
“It’s a little bit difficult in regards to carrying everything (from a remote parking spot to the beach)," Pena said. "Normally we just (park on the beach) and everything stays in the truck pretty much."
The extra effort now required for a day at the beach has apparently not caused beach parking-permit sales to slump.
The opposite might be true in fact.
"We’re not really sure why the numbers are up, but they are," said the Corpus Christi Parks and Recreation Department's Becky Perrin. "We’re glad that people are using the beaches."
Perrin said the city, county, and Port Aransas had sold 146,222 beach parking permits by this date in 2019.
So far in 2020 they've sold 149,364, an increase of 3,142.
The money from parking-permit sales goes toward beach maintenance projects. It's why Perrin is hopeful that continued beach-vehicle bans don't lead to an eventual drop in sales.
“That’s always a concern," she said. "But what we’re looking at right now is: The beaches are still being used, and people buy the permits, and they’re good for the 12 months of the year. So we’re hopeful that it will not impact us significantly.”