SFMTA mulls nighttime parking meter enforcement

Amid budget shortfalls, transit officials are considering enforcing parking meters after dark to bring in new revenue.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s Board of Directors are currently in budget to talks to consider what it should fund over the next two years and how it should pay for it.

Directors at their regular Tuesday meeting first approved reducing towing fees for first time offenders and created a low-income fee — a deal made last week with the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.The transit agency though will see a reduction of $3 million to $3.5 million in revenue because of those reduced fees.

The SFMTA already has projected shortfalls of $13.5 million in 2017 and $14.3 million in 2018, according to an updated budget presentation from SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin.

Reiskin included an updated list of possible revenue sources including a discount for Clipper card users, but charing an extra 25 cents to riders to pay who for cash and setting discount fares 50 percent below adult fares instead of the current 66 percent threshold. He’s also proposing to change the youth age from 17 to 18.

An extra 25 cents charged to single-cash users would bring in $3.8 million in 2017 and $3.9 million 2018.

Muni fares would be regularly indexed. All Muni Fast Passes would see a rise in price.

The idea to charge a premium for express routes was not included in the update.

On the spending side, Reiskin suggested for the board to not fund a potential 2 percent increase in Muni service:

“Given some uncertainty about the revenue forecast, I think it would be probably prudent to hold, as much as I would love to continue increasing service forever.”

Director Cheryl Brinkman said transit riders should not be ones paying for current budget shortfalls:

“We do recognize that people having their cars towed, it is a huge hit. I don’t want to balance that hit on the backs of our transit riders.”

Brinkman recommended to enforce parking meters at night on commercial corridors that thrive on nighttime business. She said it was unheard of a city stopping meter enforcement after 6 p.m. in a busy commercial corridor:

“I really do want do see some targeted meter hour extensions show up in this budget especially now that we’ve put ourselves in another $3.5 million behind.”

Director Malcolm Heinicke said he would be behind in looking into the proposal, but said to make the sure the transit agency reaches out to businesses the would be affected by the enforcement.

The board will also consider whether or not to spend some of the transit agency’s rainy day reserve fund on one-time expenses.

This was the last time Resikin presented the budget as an informational item. The board may take action on the budget its April 5 or April 19 meeting. The transit agency must submit a budget to the Board of Supervisors by April 30.

Between now and April 5, the transit agency is holding open houses and a webinar for the public to weigh in on the budget, as previously reported by SFBay.