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SF parking meter fees may rise, pending vote

Parking meter hourly fees may go up to pay for ‘smart’ meter transaction fees, pending a Tuesday vote by transit officials.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s Board of Directors will vote on a proposal to raise parking meter fees by 25 cents, to make up for the smart meter transaction fees, which the SFMTA must abandon.

The SFMTA board approved a 27 cent transaction fee for debit and credit cards in July, last year. The fee was for credit, debit, and pay-by-phone use in smart meters across The City, which replaced all 30,000 or so regular meters.

The agency was soon after told to stop by Visa. The credit card company said the fee violated an agreement between SFMTA and Bank of America Merchant Services, according to SFMTA documents.

“The continued collection of the $0.27 fee in violation of these rules runs the risk of the SFMTA losing access to (Bank of America) credit card payment/processing services,” SFMTA staff wrote in a report to the board.

Losing the fee would blow a $6.2 million hole in SFMTA’s annual budget, according to the SFMTA, which is about as much as the donation Google gave SFMTA to run the Free Muni for Youth program.

But though the rate increase would stave off budget cuts, it also changes who pays the fees. Before, only credit card, debit card, and pay-by-phone users on the new “smart” meters paid the fee.

Now, under the new proposal, anyone paying a parking meter in San Francisco, even by coin, would net a 25 cent jolt.

San Francisco’s parking meters are divided into five “zones” by SFMTA, each with a different range of cost per hour of parking. The final zone (zone five) is part of a pilot program called SFpark, which adjusts meter prices based on parking demand.

Zones one through four all start at $1 per hour, and have a maximum price of $3.50, $3, $2, and $3 respectively. Zone five starts at 50 cents, and reaches as high as $6 per hour.

If approved, all of those meters maximum prices would raise by a quarter – zone five, for instance, would see a maximum price of $6.25, and so on. parking metersSan Francisco Municipal Transportation AgencySFMTATransit

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