Sunday meters junked under new SFMTA budget

Sunday parking will become free again starting July 1, 2014.

Board members of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency approved its two-year budget on Tuesday which included the elimination of Sunday parking meter enforcement.

The new spending plan also adds 18 year-olds to the free Muni for low and moderate-income youth, and a orders up a three-percent overall increase in transit service.

Meter enforcement on Sundays has been a hot button issue in the SFMTA’s budget since Mayor Ed Lee told the transit agency that they should get rid of it in his State of the City Address in January. Lee was also concerned about the high citation rate on Sundays.

Lee released this statement following the board’s approval of the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 budget:

“Repealing Sunday parking meters is about making San Francisco a little more affordable for our families and residents on Sunday, plain and simple.”

Just two weeks ago at the board’s April 1 meeting, Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin presented options other than eliminating Sunday parking meter enforcement.

Reiskin said the agency could enforce only four-hour time limits on parking meters, or redeploy resources away from Sunday parking enforcement.

Board member Cheryl Brinkman said the decision to repeal Sunday parking meter enforcement was not an easy one:

“A lot of work went into the compromises around the Sunday parking meters. We haven’t found a workable compromise so I am going to support repealing the Sunday parking meters at this point.”

Brinkman also said the Mayor’s office sounds certain that repealing enforcement would help gain support from voters on two transportation ballot measures — a $500 million general obligation bond and an increase in the local vehicle license fee come this November.

Sunday parking meter enforcement was first introduced by Reiskin who said in 2012 that the City needed to update its “antiquated” parking policies.

He said there was a lot more commercial activity on Sundays, and enforcing the meters would help free up parking spaces. It was also a revenue generator for the transit agency, projected to earn close to $10 million over two years.

Other changes though that will hit the wallets of Muni riders. Muni fares for adult cash fares will rise from $2 to $2.25. Adult ‘M’ Fast Passes will also go up from $66 to $68.

San Francisco low and moderate-income students between the ages of 5 to 17 year olds will continue to ride Muni for free. The board voted to include 18-year olds in to the program, but will not not be added to the program because of technical changes to the Clipper Card program.

The SFMTA board will consider providing free Muni Fast Passes for low and moderate-income seniors and disabled riders in January next year after the board evaluates its financial health following labor contract agreements, which are still ongoing — and the November election.

Board chairman Tom Nolan said the program should be the “highest priority” of the transit agency and should start planning for the program.

Until then, the board approved an amendment to hold off fare increases for seniors and disabled riders until next year.

Also contingent on the SFMTA’s financial outlook is the remainder of the 10 percent increase of Muni service approved by the board last month. This years budget includes a three percent increase in service, but the board will decide on the remaining seven percent next year in January.

The SFMTA budget will now head to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors budget and finance committee on May 15.

New Muni Fares Effective September 1, 2014:

Adult Cash Fare: $2.25
Adult ‘A’ Fast Pass with rides on BART in SF: $80.00
Adult ‘M’ Fast Pass Muni Only: $68

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