Muni starts enforcing parking rules for employees after months of delays 

After months of delays, Muni has finally enforced its paid-parking rules for its employees, and the agency has even handed out a few citations, much to the dismay of its workers.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which operates Muni, first brought up the proposal to charge its employees for parking on department property back in February 2010. The original implementation date was scheduled to be Sept. 1, but after outcry from workers — notably Muni’s 2,200 transit operators — the agency pushed back the beginning of the program to March 1.

Now, SFMTA employees must pay $80 a month to park on department property — such as Muni bus yards — or run the risk of racking up a $65 fine.

As of Friday, ticketing officers had dished out 42 citations to SFMTA employees for parking without a proper permit on department property, according to agency spokesman Paul Rose. Those fines were handed out from March 7 to Thursday, and add up to a collective total of $2,730. Rose said the agency did not have estimates yet on how much revenue it has generated from charging employees for parking.

The SFMTA, which is facing a $21.2 million shortfall this fiscal year, expects to collect $1.2 million annually from its employee parking initiative. Agency officials have also said the parking measure reinforces San Francisco’s transit-first policy, an initiative to get commuters out of their cars.

But Rafael Cabrera, president of the Transport Workers Union Local 250-A, which represents Muni operators, saidthe new parking enforcement initiative is an “attack on workers.”

Cabrera said that many operators have to get to their jobs during the early-morning hours, when transit options are extremely limited. Cabrera said several operators have been ticketed recently, a development that has angered the workers and lowered morale.

“They say they want this to be a transit-first city, but we’re the ones running the transit service,” Cabrera said. “They’re enforcing parking rules that really hurt our employees. It’s pathetic.”

Along with cracking down on its own employees, the SFMTA has begun tightening the rules for other city workers.

In February, the SFMTA begin issuing formal placards to employees in other city departments, a move aimed at eliminating handcrafted permits that employees used to avoid regular parking restrictions. In the last month and a half, the agency has issued 600 placards, which cost $924 apiece, good for a collective total of $554,000.

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Will Reisman

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