Parking permit fee hike seen as unfair by residents 

A proposal to raise the cost of residential parking permits from $76 to $96 has drawn the ire of neighborhood groups who say the price hike is too much for the program.

The Municipal Transportation Agency, the city department in charge of transit and parking policies, has proposed the 26 percent increase as a way to help make up a $16.9 million midyear deficit.

It would be the third price increase on residential parking permits in two years.

The agency, which will introduce the proposal at its board of directors meeting today, hopes to have the price increase in place by March, a schedule that would allow it to take in $800,000 through the remainder of this fiscal year, which ends June 30. The increase would generate an extra $2.4 million annually.

Ray Holland, president of local neighborhood group Planning Association for the Richmond, said residents in the area feel cheated by the proposal, particularly since the MTA is moving forward with the price increase despite cutting services.

“It just seems like we’re helping the MTA get out of debt,” Holland said. “Instead of making some necessary long-term changes, they’re just counting on us to foot the bill. It’s pretty hard to be supportive of a measure like this.”

The City’s residential parking program was created in 1976 as a way to deter out-of-town commuters from taking up neighborhood parking spots. More than 97,000 permits were issued this fiscal year.

In August 2008, the price of residential parking permits increased from $60 to $74, and the price went up again in July, to $76. The latest increase — to $96 — would mark a 60 percent hike in prices since 2008.

“Raising the permit price by $20 is pretty steep,” Susan Suval of the Sunset District Neighborhood Coalition said. “I think that’s too high, and I think the MTA is moving forward with this proposal too quickly.”

Judson True, spokesman for the transit agency, said the price increases are necessary to cover the administrative costs of the program. The MTA spends $8.4 million annually to administer and enforce the program, but it only generates $7.3 million.

“Especially in these dire economic times, we must take every effort possible to recover our administrative costs on a valuable program like this one,” True said.

Mark Scheuer, a member of the Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Association, called the proposed price increases reasonable, especially since San Francisco bills itself as a “transit-first city.”

“Even with the increase, it would only cost $8 a month to park your car on the street,” said Scheuer. “The City is trying to get more people to use the transit system, and this could be something that eventually gets people to be less reliant on their cars.”

 

Muni fares may go up again

Less than a month after implementing the latest in a series of fare increases, the cash-strapped Municipal Transportation Agency is looking to move forward with a new set of proposed price hikes for riders.

The transit agency, which oversees Muni operations, is facing a $16.9 million projected midyear deficit that must be reconciled by June 30.

To help make up the shortfall, the department wants to increase cash fares on its F-line from $2 to $5, making it mandatory for passengers using their monthly Fast Passes on cable car and express routes to purchase the more expensive of two transit options and raising the cost of discounted youth and senior Fast Passes to $30.

The fare increases, which must be reviewed by the Board of Supervisors, would generate $2.1 million this fiscal year, provided they are put in place by April 1.

On Jan. 1, the price of an adult Fast Pass increased from $55 to $60, and to $70 if the buyer opted for the previously free BART-rides option.

In July, cash fares increased from $1.50 to $2, and Fast Pass prices went up from $45 to $55.

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

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