Now that the San Francisco Board of Supervisors has successfully pushed the SF Municipal Transportation Agency to reduce towing fees, the MTA says they need to find a way to make up the money they won't be making from errant parkers. So what about extending parking meter enforcement into the night?
San Francisco's high towing fees came under Supervisoral scrutiny earlier this month, as it was on them to approve the MTA's proposed contract extension with towing company AutoReturn. With Board president London Breed describing the transit agency's "full cost recovery" charges as "robbery," the Supes refused to agree to the new towing contract until the SFMTA made some changes.
After some negotiation, the MTA agreed to cut "fees charged for vehicles towed for the first time from a total of $491 to $380" Tuesday, CBS 5 reports. But fee cut leaves the eternally struggling transit agency with a revenue loss "estimated at around $3.5 million," a shortfall that Supervisor Scott Wiener, in legislation introduced at the Supes' full meeting yesterday, asked that SF's general fund help cover.
Apparently not content to wait for SF's general fund to save the day, however, the SFMTA board is looking at other ways to fill the tow fee gap, including extending the hours parking meters are enforced in some areas. According to the Ex, at yesterday's MTA board meeting, agency staff was asked to "study the impacts of charging for nighttime parking meters."
Suggesting that extending meter fees in some areas might counteract the loss of towing fees, Board Director Cheryl Brinkman said “I want to make sure we’re managing the resources of our parking better.”
Despite a suggestion at last month's meeting that the MTA reconsider charging for Sunday parking, Brinkman said Tuesday that “I’m not suggesting we go back to the Sunday metering," which, as you might recall, was killed off due to pressure from Mayor Ed Lee back in 2014, after he famously announced that the MTA had "figured our way out of" their budget shortfall.
According to the Ex, the SFMTA expects to have a $13.5 million budget shortfall in 2017 and a $14.3 million shortage in 2018.
So, with Sundays off the table, then perhaps evenings are the way to go? That seems to be Brinkman's take, saying that “I want some targeted meter hour extensions to show up in this budget, especially since we’re another $3 million behind.”
A call placed by SFist to Lee's office to see if he'd prefer evening parking meters over Sunday ones was not returned at publication time.
SFMTA chief Ed Reiskin, however, seems to be into the idea, saying that “Stopping [enforcement] at 6 p.m. in a vibrant, commercial evening district doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.”
“From a parking management perspective, it could be a chance to advance our transportation policy that has some revenue benefits.”