Mayor Lee & SFMTA Launch New Innovative Pay by Phone Parking Meters

Starting in Castro Neighborhood & Soon Citywide, Drivers Can Pay For Parking at Meters by Phone

12/14/11—Mayor Edwin M. Lee today joined the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) to launch the PayByPhone parking payment service in San Francisco that allows drivers to pay for parking at meters with their cell phone. The rollout began with parking meters in the Castro neighborhood and will continue Citywide to other neighborhoods by Spring 2012.

PayByPhone will allow customers to pay for parking at meters by cell phone, receive a reminder text when time is almost up, add time without returning to the meter and receive receipts via e-mail.

“San Francisco is proud to lead the nation in leveraging cutting edge technology to make government more responsive and efficient for its residents and visitors,” said Mayor Lee. “Using technology like PayByPhone, the SFpark apps and the SFpark garage text service, helps us support our local businesses and is good for the environment at the same time.”

“Parking is one of the greatest frustrations people experience in their daily lives,” said District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener. “We need to make it easy to pay for parking, and this program puts us on that path. I'm thrilled that the Castro was chosen to roll out this innovative program.”

“We look forward to providing additional convenience for our parking customers,” said SFMTA Board of Directors Chairman Tom Nolan. “Anything we can do to make it easier for folks to pay at the meter furthers our goal of helping our customers get to their destinations quickly and easily.”

“Through this initiative, the SFMTA is making it easier for people to comply with parking regulations,” said SFMTA Director of Transportation Edward D. Reiskin. “As part of the groundbreaking SFpark program, this technology will help improve the customer experience by making it more convenient to pay for parking at locations throughout San Francisco.”

PayByPhone is a private service that allows customers to pay for their parking through an online account by signing up at or calling 866-490-7275. Drivers will know that the PayByPhone service is available at their meter when they see the PayByPhone decal and can enter the meter location number and desired length of stay on their phone. SFMTA Parking Control Officers can use their handheld devices to verify whether or not the meter has been paid.

Drivers with smartphones that have NFC capability can “tap” the meter to initiate streamlined payment. Once installed at the 30,800 SFMTA and 1,000 Port of San Francisco car and motorcycle metered spaces, this will be the largest single NFC deployment in the nation.

PayByPhone will charge the customer a $0.45 convenience fee for each transaction. The first 5,000 people to register with PayByPhone will each receive two transactions with no added fee. PayByPhone is provided at no cost to the City. The fee goes directly to PayByPhone; the SFMTA only receives the amount paid on the meter.

The SFMTA chose contractor PayByPhone through a competitive process. The service will be provided at no cost to the City. In September 2007, the SFMTA began a two-year pilot of pay-by-phone technologies in three different areas of San Francisco. The pilot, conducted in busy neighborhood commercial districts with a mixture of restaurants, service and retail businesses, considered driver usage and response, revenues and costs, and enforcement and maintenance.

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