City launches payment plan for low-income people with parking tickets and transit citations

Low-income drivers facing parking tickets and Muni riders facing transit citations can now pay their tickets over time and have any late fees removed.

The ticket payment plan launched Thursday by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is aimed at curbing financial burdens for those in poverty.

To prove eligibility, people may provide Medi-Cal, EBT Lifeline cards or tax documents, and must enroll 60 days after a citation is issued or 25 days after an SFMTA hearing. Those qualifying include single-person households making under $24,120, two-person households making under $32,480, three person households making under $40,840 and four person households making under $49,200.

The payment plan, approved by the SFMTA Board of Directors in January, was mandated by Assembly Bill 503, authored by Assemblymember Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale), which was approved last year.

But Amanda Fried, a spokesperson for the Office of the Treasurer & Tax Collector, said the SFMTA payment plan went far beyond what was legally mandated in the bill.

It includes a grace period for eligible people with past-due tickets, who are allowed to enroll by May 31, a move Fried said SFMTA was “not required” to enact, but did.

The grace period was one of the recommendations made in May last year by a task force assembled by Treasurer Jose Cisneros, which examined the inequitable application of the fines and fees levied in San Francisco for things like traffic violations or other minor citations.

Fried said that task force “talked about how important it would be to have people with past debt to come forward and pay off their citations, but not be burdened down by years and years of late penalties,” concerns SFMTA listened to.

With a grace period and pay plan in place, Fried said, “This is an opportunity for people to clear their records and come back in good standing, and continue driving safely in the city.”

For more information on the plan and how to sign up, call 311 or visit www.sfmta.com/paymentoptions.

Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez
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Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez

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