More Meter Revenue But Fewer Parking Tickets Issued

SF Park is an outstanding success when measured by 'ticket anxiety'; i.e. the new program allows motorists to reduce the likelihood of being ticketed by making payment easier and allowing for longer parking stays, thus avoiding a $55-65 citation.

Payment by credit card. Pay for extra time. Pay remotely by smart phone. All these innovations enable motorists to escaped the dreaded citation. These improvements in the SF Park program are in addition to 'dynamic pricing' of parking spaces that works to increase parking space availability by increasing prices when spaces are in greatest demand.

"The city's parking cops are issuing fewer tickets for meter violations in neighborhoods where the experiment has been applied.

Prior to the new meters, 55 percent of the revenue came from payments drivers used to buy time and 45 percent from fines. After the new meters went in, the amount from payments increased to 70 percent and the amount from fines plummeted to 30 percent.

The old meters in neighborhoods not covered by SFpark only accept payment by coins and prepaid parking cards. In addition, the new meters have less restrictive time limits, generally allowing drivers to park for four hours or more. For a 45-cent fee, drivers even can add more time remotely if their meter is about to expire."

Thanks to MTC-ABAG Library

Full Story: SF's new parking program reduces ticketing anxiety



Irvin Dawid's picture

Extending Parking Time by payment via phone

I worked on this summary in a Hayes Valley cafe. During that time, a mom and her child came in and I couldn't help but overhear the discussion between the two - Mom to daughter: "The first thing I have to do is extend the time we have at the meter because you know how many tickets I've gotten". As she entered the data on her smart phone, I heard the daughter respond, "Yes, mother, I certainly know."

Hayes Street and adjacent steets are all 'smart metered'. However, there did not appear to be any vacancies while I was there. (So much for the principles of dynamic parking that, in principle, keeps one space per block vacant). I think it is because of allowing motorists to extend their time, just as I witnessed in the cafe.

The meters themselves flash three hourly payments, varying by time of day. I did not get the impression the charges changed. I have no idea if the sensors in the pavement, another principle of dynamic pricing, are helpful to motorists. However, extending the parking period would certainly contribute to the added payment SF MTA is receiving and reducing the likelihood of being ticketed which would confirm the findings of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

Irvin Dawid, Palo Alto, CA

SF Parking Vacancies

SF has found that demand is not as sensitive to price as they expected. There are cases where prices have been raised on one street but kept low on nearby streets, and drivers keep parking on the more expensive streets.

It seems that insufficient information is part of the problem. Drivers don't know that there is cheaper parking nearby, and they are desperate enough for parking that they take the first space they see.

Another part of the problem is that prices have not yet been raised enough. SF is still studying how much they need to raise prices to reach the 1-vacancy-per-block goal, and they are raising prices in phases. Expect more expensive meters on Hayes St.

Charles Siegel

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