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Neighborhood Pilots Program To Pay for Parking by Phone


By Daniela Przybyszewska

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) has launched a pay-by-phone parking payment service (SFpark) with the Castro district being the pilot neighborhood.

The program consists of adding stickers with electronic chips to parking meters that will store information such as the number of the parking space. Customers will be able to wirelessly transfer this information to their cell phones, which will enable them to pay parking fees using their phones. SFMTA expects to expand the service citywide in the in the coming months.

The SFMTA is hoping to modernize and improve San Francisco's parking situation through the new program, according to Scott Wiener, District 8 supervisor.

SF park will distribute information about available parking spots in the city, making it convenient for drivers to find open spaces, which could potentially reduce traffic. In addition, consumers will be able to pay remotely from a cell phone and receive a text message when the time is about to expire. Drivers interested in the service will be required to open an account linked to a credit card after which they will be able to make payments from their phone. Customers can download the PayByPhone app at

There will be a 45-cent fee for the service to cover the costs, which, according to Wiener, will primarily cover the credit card company charges (between 25-35 cents a transaction). The amount remaining will be a profit for Verrus Mobile Technologies Inc, the contractor company offering the service.

By adding this service, San Francisco will follow the steps of other major cities with the program, such as Dallas, Miami, Vancouver, London and Paris.

"The goal is to make paying for street parking as easy as possible," Wiener said. According to him, SFpark will help lessen the number of parking tickets and will increase meter revenue.