Parking revenue shifts into high gear

The City is raking in millions of dollars more from parking meters than it did five years ago, with recent price increases and the costly violations boosting the numbers.
Revenue from parking meters increased about $9 million compared to four years ago. The income from citations is up by more than $3 million.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which oversees Muni and parking enforcement, collected $28.9 million in citation revenue during the fiscal year that ended June 30 and $38.4 million from drivers who fed meters, according to an Aug. 10 agency memo.

Thats up from the $25.2 million in citation revenue collected in fiscal year 2005-06 and the $29.6 million collected at meters.
Parking meter rates and penalties have increased during the five-year span between fiscal year 2005-06 and fiscal year 2009-10. In July 2009, parking rates increased 50 cents. Citations for parking at expired meters were $40 on the downtown streets and $50 elsewhere. By April 2010, the penalties were $55 and $65, respectively.

Other proposals to boost revenue from parking have included the installation of meters in Golden Gate Park, extending the hours drivers need to feed the meters and enforcing metered parking on Sundays.

Without moving ahead with the more controversial ideas, the SFMTA is projecting an increase in parking meter revenue with the rollout of SFpark. The program allows drivers to pay not only with coins, but credit or debit cards. Starting next year, drivers could have the choice of paying via cell phone. Also, the agency can change the parking meter rates based on demand for spaces.

The conservative estimate is at least $6.5 million more a year, which includes increasing the number of metered spaces from 25,000 to 30,000, with 16,000 under the SFpark program.

Parking meter revenue will increase by offering more payment options and making it very easy to pay, Jay Primus, SFpark manager, said at a recent Board of Supervisors meeting. It also takes into account the projected decrease in parking meter-related citation revenue. Making it easier to pay and having longer time limits means that people will pay more at the meter, but likely get fewer parking tickets.

SFMTA spokesman Paul Rose said the SFpark program is about drivers convenience.

Just like we want people to pay when they ride Muni, we really want people to pay at the meter and reduce the number of tickets we give overall. Our driving customers should be a lot happier, Primus said.

A decrease in citations would reduce the agencys administrative costs of issuing, processing and dealing with protests of the citations, Primus said.
San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency
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