SFpark hourly meters actually saves motorists money
Since taking effect in April 2011, average hourly rates have dropped by 14 cents from $2.73 to $2.59 at the 7,000 SFpark meters. Overall, 17 percent of those meters offer hourly rates of $1 or less -- prices that are significantly cheaper than the ones offered at The City's 22,000 older meters. And 6 percent of SFpark meters go for as cheap as 25 cents an hour, according to data from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which oversees parking policies in The City. The drop in prices for on-street parking meters coincides with a 20 percent rate decrease in SFMTA-run garages.
Because the SFpark meters provide more payment options for motorists, ticket citations have decreased.
Previously, the SFMTA received about 45 percent of its parking revenue from citations. At the SFpark meters, that rate is 20 percent, agency spokesman Paul Rose said.
Rates at the SFpark meters are adjusted every six weeks to reflect demand for specific spaces, with prices as high as $5.75 an hour. Jay Primus, project manager at SFpark, noted that only half the meters were changed during the last adjustment, meaning that prices are nearing an hourly rate that will consistently manage demand.
Ok, so it's not surprise that the headline and most of the article start from the assumption that anything that makes it cheaper to own a car is good -- saving money good! -- and totally ignores the fact that car owners are already heavily subsidized and not paying their fair share of the resources they use and the damage they cause to our society. That's expected.
Instead of drawing in reams of revenue for the SFMTA, the SFpark program has actually contributed to a slight loss. The agency expects to receive about $5.5 million less than expected from parking citations this fiscal year, although those losses are offset mostly by an increase of $4.4 million from additional meter revenue. The agency has a total budget of $830 million.
"The obligation of this program from the onset was to achieve the lowest parking prices possible to achieve our goals," Primus said. "I think we're proving that."
So, after having installed this system, they have shifted the balance of their revenue stream to make more from "meters" and less from "citations", and credit the UI of the new meters with that, which is nice I guess, but it's still the transfer of money from drivers to the State, so who cares how it gets there, really.
The bottom line seems to be that after installing this expensive and complicated new system, they're down not only the cost of the system, but have also reduced their annual revenue by $1.1M.
I guess they'll... make it up in volume...?
I like the ideas behind SFPark -- it uses math and science to do both economics and social engineering and that's kind of awesome -- but if the end result is that it's giving drivers even more of a free ride than the previous, low-tech system did, then I don't think it's working.
I suppose it's good that the new system results in fewer cars circling the block looking for parking, wasting gas and making a menace of themselves, but is that $1.1M worth of good?
Previously, previously, previously.