SFMTA rolls out new Garage Ambassadors to give customers peace of mind

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San Francisco is rolling out a new program to help people feel safer in parking garages. (KGO-TV)

ABC 7 News tagged along with Francisco Lira, IMPARK's account manager, as he rolled out SFMTA's newest program on Tuesday. It's called Garage Ambassadors.

"We heard a couple people express concerns about occasionally maybe not feeling safe when coming to a parking garage," Rob Malone, Senior Manager of Parking and Curb Management said.

There were also concerns about the Bay Area's widespread car break-ins.

"Especially with the holiday shopping season coming we want people to feel comfortable coming and visiting the city," Malone said.

RELATED: San Francisco cracks down and ramps up against smash-and-grabs

SFMTA hopes Garage Ambassadors can be a part of the solution.

People who park in San Francisco parking garages can request an ambassador by phone, or in person.

The ambassadors serve as buddies to escort people to and from their vehicles, and serve as their eyes and ears while they're gone.

"Use the program, Lira said.

Kay Vierra did. She parks at a garage across the street from city hall every day. She tried out the service the moment Lira told her about it.

"You just never know what may be in the parking garage," Vierra said. "Especially in the mornings too. I mean there's a lot of transients in this area."

RELATED: San Francisco officials announce reduction in car break-ins at Sutter-Stockton garage

There's also a lot of late-night foot traffic.

"If you're going to the symphony, or something at the theater," Charles Morgan said. Morgan was walking through the garage to attend the opera.

The parking garages removed their physical parking booths when they upgraded to their automated system. Now, the employees once tied to the booths can serve as ambassadors.

"They're roving around, walking the stairwells, looking for any suspicious behavior, they could be doing some light janitorial work," Malone said.

"Oh I think this is wonderful," Venetria Patton said. "We have something like this at my university." Patton was visiting San Francisco on Tuesday from Indiana.

The Garage Ambassador service is free. It can be used during the garage's normal hours of operation. For more information call 415-863-1537.
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parkingSFMTAsafetyburglarysmash and grabrobberySan Francisco
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