San Francisco's broken parking meters cause discomfort for many drivers

Lyanne Melendez Image
Friday, December 27, 2019
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San Francisco drivers are facing constant discomfort over it's broken, jammed parking meters throughout the city.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Even though it's a holiday week, parking meters are still being enforced, but if you're paying with coins, you may have noticed that it can sometimes be a challenge, as some of them are constantly jammed or broken.

"Like these meters, you'll see the coins stuck in there," explained the meter technician who was fixing some of the broken ones along the Embarcadero this morning.

And just like that, he cleared the coins that had been jammed.

It appears to be a common problem in San Francisco. We went to Grant Avenue in North Beach where we quickly discovered that nearly every other meter on this street was jammed.

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We spoke to a couple of locals who see the problem every day.

"I do see the guy fixing the meters everyday anywhere you go here," said Frank Balistreri, a resident of this neighborhood.

In some cases, a meter is jammed on purpose and the coins are later "phished" out. "When it's jammed, we try to put a bag over it," Gigi Fiorucci, a resident and business owner here told us.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, SFMTA says there are other options.

Last June they told us people should be prepared with a plan B and that plan would include a parking card, a credit card or pay by phone.

But let's say, and it's possible, that you don't have a credit card. Plan B is to pay with a parking card, where do you buy one?

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SFMTA told us there's an app to locate a store near you. The closest one was S & S grocery at 1461 Grant Avenue.

But by walking a block, we risk getting a ticket. And when we get there, they've run out of the 20-dollar cards, leaving us with one option--paying for a 50-dollar card.

In 2012 SFMTA reported more than $47 million in annual revenue from meter fees.

But because of the holidays, no one at SFMTA was available to tell us how much revenue, if any, the city now fails to collect because of these broken meters.

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