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Parking Quiz Answer: No More Free Parking For City Employees

Photo via evilsigntist on Flickr.com

Just before lunch we asked you to try not to get upset contemplating how many freebies city employees get. Think you know the answer?

Last year, how many FREE parking spaces did SFMTA have reserved for SFMTA employees?

A) 0
B) 10
C) 100
D) 500
E) 1000

Answer E) 1000.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency recently stated that it has changed two of its longstanding policies. The first change in policy is that City cars are also subject to time limits at meters. This one makes me chuckle because I don’t think it will ever be enforced. The first person to email me a picture of a City vehicle with a parking ticket, for parking over the time limit, on the windshield will get a free book and a $25 smart parking card.

The second change is one that actually might make a difference.  SFMTA employees now have to pay to park their private vehicles at SFMTA facilities. They realized that free parking perks encouraged employees to drive alone to work rather than take public transportation, and this was not in synch with SF’s Transit First policy. There were close to 1000 spaces that were completely free for SFMTA employees to park in. How much they now have to pay was not divulged. I’m guessing that it won’t be the $3.50 per hour that you and I have to pay. If each space was $3.50 per hour it would amount to $9,828 per space per year.  And for the 1000 spaces that would amount to $9,828,000 per year. Let me check the math …. yup … almost $10 million dollars. If these numbers are right, then it really is great news. But, the City can’t really can't toot it's horn over, because, the amount of money that has been wasted is enormous.

Let’s say that the average meter fee over the last decade was $2.50 per hour. Then, over the last decade, those 1000 free spots were worth $70,200,000…up in smoke. So, hats off to SFMTA for putting their thinking caps on and making an internal policy change that is going to help raise a significant chunk of money and make a dent in its deficit, rather than resorting to the old "let's just raise parking tickets by ten dollars” trick.

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