Customer service center hours are reduced temporarily
Lee County Government is encouraging residents to use online services to obtain transponders as customer service center hours are reduced temporarily due to COVID-19 staff shortages.
The county last fall created an online portal for customers to get free transponders for use on the Cape Coral, Midpoint and Sanibel Causeway bridges, which use all-electronic tolling. Visitwww.leegov.com/tolls to set up an account and receive a free transponder in the mail. Motorists with transponders are not charged an administrative fee. Many other toll agency transponders work at county toll plazas as well, including Sunpass, E-Pass, EZ-Pass, PeachPass and more. Visit the website for details.
Beginning Tuesday, the county’s customer service center for tolling – called the LeeWay Service Center – will have reduced lobby hours for the next two weeks. New temporary hours will be 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays at the center, 1366 Colonial Blvd., Fort Myers.
When normal hours resume, the website will be updated to alert customers. Staff shortages also may contribute to longer hold times for customers who call the center at (239) 533-9297.
In addition to getting a transponder and setting up an account, motorists without transponders can use the website to pay toll invoices incurred via the pay-by-plate system. The website also has helpful videos about all-electronic tolling and partnering toll agencies. Visit www.leegov.com/tolls/electronic.
How do I get a free prepaid transponder?
You can get a transponder mailed to your house by creating an account with LeeWay and loading a prepaid account.
LeeTran will provide extended transportation services in Downtown Fort Myers and on Fort Myers Beach to accommodate New Year’s Eve festivities.
Downtown Fort Myers River District service will include:
The blue and gold line trolley routes will run until 1 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 1
Fort Myers Beach Service will include:
LeeTran’s Route 410 from Bowditch to Lovers Key will extend service times overnight until 1 a.m. Saturday, Jan 1.
LeeTran’s route 490 that travels between Times Square to the Beach Park and Ride located at 11101 Summerlin Square Drive will run its normal service until 8:50 p.m. Friday, Dec. 31. At that time, shuttle service will run from the Main Street Park & Ride located at the base of the Matanzas Bridge to the Beach Park & Ride until 1 a.m. Satuday, Jan. 1 Riders seeking transportation from the beach to the Park and Ride after 8:50 p.m. Friday will need to walk over the bridge to the Main Street Park & Ride to catch the shuttle to the Beach Park & Ride.
The free open-air beach trams will extend service until 1 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 1, from Bowditch Point to the beach library.
The Lee Board of County Commissioners and Lee County Sheriff’s Office announced that county residents and visitors now can send a text to 911 in an emergency.
Placing a voice call to 911 remains the most effective method for requesting emergency assistance.
Text to 911 should only be used when the caller is deaf or hard of hearing; experiencing a medical event that makes clear speech difficult; or is in a dangerous situation where it is not possible to safely make a voice call, such as an active shooter, domestic violence incident or home invasion. Text to 911 is only for emergencies. It is a crime to text or call 911 as a “test” or with a false report.
When texting to 911 in an emergency:
Enter 911 in the “To” field (do not use dashes between numbers)
Give your exact location and type of emergency.
Keep it brief.
Be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions from the 911 call taker.
Do not use slang, abbreviations, GIFs, or emojis.
Do not send to more than one person; group texts are not received.
Do not text and drive.
Do not send photos and videos.
A text or data plan is required to text to 911 and regular rates apply. Mobile carriers handle texts to 911 like any other message. You can experience the same service speeds or delays, depending on network strength in your area.
The Lee Board of County Commissioners is committed to Public Safety technology initiatives. Text to 911 is one of several initiatives planned in the next few months. Additional projects include:
The operational launch of the new Government Communications Network P25 project in February 2022, improving the capacity and resiliency of countywide emergency communications.
The arrival of Next Generation 911 in April 2022, allowing the public to share videos, images and texts with emergency call centers and improving the handling of 911 calls in Lee County.
The Lee County Department of Public Safety comprises several primary divisions with functions designed to assist residents, visitors and local government agencies. These include Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Emergency Management, Emergency Communications, and Technology Services. Visit www.leegov.com for more information.
The Lee Board of County Commissioners voted Tuesday to approve measures that will expand where LeeWay toll transponders can operate.
The change will allow motorists to purchase a multi-protocol transponder that will work throughout Florida and the E-ZPass network in 19 states across the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest.
These new transponders will be called LeeWay Plus and will be available for purchase sometime in the fall of 2022.
Commissioners approved an E-ZPass Sponsored Affiliate Member Agreement that will allow Lee County to issue special multi-protocol transponders that will work on both Florida and E-ZPass toll lanes.
The agreement allows Lee County transponders and electronic toll transactions on E-ZPass toll lanes to be processed through the Central Florida Expressway (CFX).
The costs to complete the interoperability process will require software upgrades, a one-time $200,000 payment to CFX and a payment of $60,000 to the county’s toll software vendor, which already is included in a Board-approved contract.
Commissioners also approved a one-year agreement with the county’s transponder vendor, Transcore LP, to provide the LeeWay Plus transponders, which will sell for $20.66 plus tax. LeeWay sticker transponders will continue to be free to customers and work throughout Florida, North Carolina and Georgia.
Lee County has used All-Electronic Tolling since the pandemic began in 2020. The Lee Board of County Commissioners voted in June and August this year to maintain this to align with Florida’s SunPass program, to return to the same tollway fee structure that was in place before the pandemic, and to adjust motorcyclists’ toll pricing to align with vehicles.
On Oct. 1, the county reinstated the $3 administrative fee for pay-by-plate customers who do not have a transponder or do not maintain a positive balance in their LeeWay account.
Free transponders that work on LeeWay toll bridges are still available at www.leegov.com/tolls at no cost to motorists, but they will not work in the E-ZPass service areas.
The Lee County Library System’s annual Fandom Fest, a free, all-ages celebration of geek and pop culture, returns noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 11, at the Fort Myers Regional Library outdoor plaza, 2450 First St., in downtown Fort Myers.
Festivalgoers are encouraged to attend in costume.
The festival will be divided into fandom-themed areas offering a mixture of activities, games and DIY maker spaces for a variety of ages and interests, including:
Sword & Sorcery
Superheroes & Villains
Festivalgoers can spend the afternoon making crafts, winning prizes, climbing the rock wall and creating cosplay accessories among many other free activities.
There will be live entertainment at the outdoor Cornog Plaza Amphitheater featuring electronic music and remixes by DJ Jo. Tampa Taiko will kick off the festival with Japanese drumming. New this year, the festival will offer K-Pop dance tutorials with Residance.
A virtual reality tech hub and gaming will be provided by Rolling Games Fort Myers. Fans of Star Wars, Disney, Minions and Marvel will have a chance to meet and take photos with their favorite characters. There will be a designated preschool area with games and activities just for that age group.
Food will be available for purchase and local gaming and comic book shops will sell merchandise and offer role-playing game tutorials and card trading.
A cosplay costume contest will be held at 3 p.m. to cap off the event. Participants can register for free at the Judges Booth from noon to 2 p.m. Winners will be selected in the following categories: Birth to Preschool, Children (5-11 years old), Teens (12-17 years old) and Adults (18 years old and up). Winners will be awarded family four-pack theme park tickets to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay (pre-k and kids) or Universal Studios (teens and adults).
In addition to the on-site festivities, there will be opportunities to win prizes through virtual activities and reading challenges using the READsquared app platform. Participants can log reading and enjoy Fandom Bingo and other fun, educational activities during the two weeks leading up to the big event. Participants can earn chances to win Grand Prizes including season passes to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay.
To ensure everyone’s safety and enjoyment of Fandom Fest, attendees must observe the following rules on festival day:
No real or realistic-looking weapons are allowed
Lack of clothing is not a costume; shirt, shoes and bottoms must be worn at all times
Attendees will abide by the Lee County Library System’s Patron Code of Conduct
Fandom Fest representatives, library staff members or security personnel reserve the right to inspect costumes and/or accessories
Attendees who do not comply with the rules and regulations will be asked to leave the premises.
The library recognizes the importance of providing relevant and engaging programming for teens and young adults. Attendees of the festival can learn more about library services that support their academic and personal goals while interacting in a creative and fun environment. Volunteer opportunities at the festival are available. Interested teens can apply at www.leelibrary.net/fandomfest.
In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Lee County will not discriminate against qualified individuals with disabilities in its services, programs or activities. To request an auxiliary aid or service for effective communication or a reasonable modification to participate, contact Joan LaGuardia, 239-533-2314, Florida Relay Service 711, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Accommodation will be provided at no cost to the requester. Requests should be made at least five business days in advance.