High-tech meters are working, study says

While other San Francisco neighborhoods are resisting the new high-tech parking meters that now line Fillmore Street, they are generally finding favor with local residents and merchants, despite being difficult to use. And a new report suggests that the experimental SFpark program is having at least some of its intended effects.

At the new meters — which accept both coins and credit cards and have no time limits — compared with older meters used elsewhere in the city:
• Citations decreased by 35 percent.
• Net revenue increased by 20 percent.
• Length of stay increased slightly.

“The new meters [resulted in] greater income from payment at the meter and less from citations,” the report states. “In 2010, at the old meters, 55 percent of revenue came from payment, with 45 percent from citations. In 2011, after the new meters were installed, 70 percent of revenue was from meter payment, with 30 percent from citations.”

On Fillmore, some drivers complained they found the new meters complicated to use, but many merchants gave them positive reviews.

“I think it’s good,” said Vasilios Kiniris, owner of Zinc Details. “From a sales standpoint, people don’t say, ‘I’ve got to run out and feed my meter.’ It’s much more convenient to be able to pay with a credit card for as long as you want to park.”

At Design Within Reach, staffer Tony Sison said he rarely has to reach into his stash of quarters for customers anymore. “It’s been a positive thing,” Sison said. “People aren’t just coming to one store. With more time, they can have lunch and visit three or four shops.”