San Francisco Parking Ticket Numbers Will Make You Think Twice About Street Parking

Every year, the SFMTA comes out with a list of statistics on parking tickets. First reported on by David LaBua at 7×7 SF, this year’s report is bad news for drivers in the city who prefer street parking.

San Francisco parking ticket
Expired meters were only the second-most-common violation of 2012-2013. The most common? Street sweeping violations.
Photo courtesy of torbakhopper.

1) Ticket revenue for the city is up…way up!

San Francisco made $88 million in FY 2012-2013 on parking violation fines. That’s up from $83 million during the previous period! What accounts for the sudden jump? More tickets were certainly handed out in this year: about 1.55 million as compared to 1.53 million. In other words, you’ve got an increasingly high chance of getting ticketed on SF city streets, and paying a lot of money for it!

2) There’s a chance you might get an invalid ticket, and it’s not that easy to overturn

About 1.76% of tickets, or 26,400, were found to be invalid upon review. As David LaBua writes, that means the SFMTA does a decent job, achieving 98% accuracy. Still, the Agency’s two-step review process is not always easy to navigate. LaBua writes:

“…77,248 citations were contested at the first level of review.” That’s about 5 percent of the total 1.5 million citations issued. Of those 77,248 challenged citations, 21,405 or about 28 percent were dismissed as being an invalid citation. 13,085 of the remaining 55,843 citations, that were upheld after the first level of contesting, went on to the second level and were heard before an administrative judge. Of those 13,085 cases heard by an administrator, about 5,000 were found to be invalid and were dismissed.”

In other words, there was about a 38% success rate among people who challenged their tickets a second time, but over 42,000 people let their tickets stay in effect after the first review. The lesson here is clear: if you were in the right, challenge your ticket, and challenge again!

3) Publicly available parking supply for the city is on the decline

According to the report, the total publicly-available parking supply in San Francisco is 435,283 spaces. Compare that to last year’s number of 448,000 spaces, and you have a pretty big reduction in supply. Since the city estimates that there are nearly 467,000 cars owned by SF residents, and thousands of people driving to work every day from within the city and its surrounding areas, that amounts to a pretty serious parking shortage, especially downtown!
The only way to ensure a guaranteed parking spot at your destination is by making a parking reservation. Use to find the best location for you at the best prices, and don’t become a parking statistic!
The full report can be viewed here in .pdf from.