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Board of Directors Reduces Tow Fees, Votes on Commuter Shuttle Program & Starts Budget Conversation

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Today's SFMTA Board of Directors meeting covered a lot of ground and included the approval of a new five-year contract for vehicle towing. The new contract reduces tow fees by five percent and expands the stolen vehicle waiver that started for SF residents in December. This means that anyone who is able to get back their stolen car in SF will not have to pay the associated tow fees and will have a 48-hour grace period on the storage costs, as of April 1.

Irving Street intersection in the Inner Sunset.
Irving Street intersection in the Inner Sunset. Photo taken August 21, 2014.

The stolen vehicle waiver policy was implemented in December for SF residents. Visitors currently have a half-price waiver and 24-hour grace period. The full benefits extend to all on April 1.

The commuter shuttle pilot program was also on today's agenda. The SFMTA Board approved the framework recommended by SF's Board of Supervisors. This included, in part, the commissioning of a study on how housing and other economic issues are affected by the commuter shuttles. The pilot will continue in its current form until the study is complete and further recommendations can be made.

Another piece of news is the decriminalization of youth transit citations, including fare evasion, graffiti and failing to yield a seat reserved for an elderly person or someone with a disability (to name a few). Like adults, kids who receive any transit citation will now only face administrative penalties. The fine will be half the amount of an adult citation ($112). The SFMTA worked with the City of Los Angeles to change state law in order to make the decriminalization possible.

Finally, today's meeting also included the beginning of our conversation about the SFMTA's next budget. Today's presentation (.pdf) provided an overview of the current state of SFMTA finances and served to start the discussion about how the city's transportation priorities should be reflected in the agency's final budget. This is due, by the way, to the mayor and Board of Supervisors by April 30. Unlike the overall city budget, the SFMTA operates on a two-year budget cycle.