SF eliminates free parking for Muni employees

Starting in December, San Francisco Muni drivers and other city employees will have to pay $960 a year for parking.
August 30, 2010 6:52:55 PM PDT
Muni drivers and thousands of other city employees are about to lose their free parking perk. Some of them see it as payback for refusing to take pay cuts to help balance the city's budget. The combined plans will save the city $3.5 million a year.

The bike will now become Frankie Sanders' mode of transportation. Muni employees have been able to park their cars for free on a first come first served basis at all of the Muni bus yards for as long as anyone can remember but starting in December, they'll have to pay $960 a year.

"I have two kids in college right now, so it's kind of tough and it puts a big hit on me, so bicycle," he said.

The new fee amounts to about one-third of the 5.75 percent raise mandated by city law that operators recently received.

The transport workers were the only labor union that refused the mayor's request for wage concessions.

Muni driver Darryl Stitt says this is payback, buy the transit agency says that's not true.

"This isn't about payback this is about finding alternative ways to improve service for our customers and in economic climates like this, we have to make tough choices," Mini Spokesperson Paul Rose said.

In addition to charging for parking, Muni is also changing work rules including forcing union reps back behind the wheel.

The agency says the union has indicated it might take legal action, but the acting union president says he needs to know more about what he calls "the bluepreint" for the new policy.

"What do they have in mind, it's easy to say we are going to implement something, but if you don't have a real plan to accommodate us, then it will be a problem," Rafael Cabrera from the Transport Workers Union said.

In February, long standing parking perks will also be taken away from thousands of other city employees who have special permits around city hall or designated garage spaces.

"This is not exclusive to TWU. As part of balancing the budget, we're asking all city employees who chose to drive to work, rather than take transit, to pay for the privilege of parking," San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom's Spokesperson Tony Winniker said.

"I refuse to pay for parking to come to my job," TWU member Walter Scott III said.

Some Muni employees are signing along for a new schedule, and that will help the transit agency restore 61 percent of the cuts that they put into place in May. Those cuts will be restored September 4.


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