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Transitioning Residential Parking Permits from a Physical Sticker to a Virtual Permit 

Virtual Permit Transition Summary

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Effective April 1, 2022 the SFMTA will transition annual Residential Parking Permit (RPP) permits from physical stickers to virtual permits. This will streamline the RPP application and administration process. This change will not apply to other permit types—including 1 Day, Visitor, Press, City Vehicle, Teacher and Contractor permits.  

Currently, about 70,000 San Francisco residents living in RPP areas purchase an annual parking permit in sticker form each year. Those renewing their permit at the same address can pay online and receive their permit in the mail.  People buying new permits can do so (a) in-person at the Customer Service Center, where the customer receives their physical sticker at time of purchase, (b) by-mail, or (c) online, and receive their permit in the mail.  

Virtual permits have several benefits, such as: 

  • Permit is active as soon as it is paid. No waiting for a permit to be mailed. 

  • Permits can be purchased online. No need to visit the Customer Service Center. 

  • No need to place a sticker on the vehicle. 

  • Digital permits cannot be stolen from a vehicle. 

  • Faster enforcement in RPP areas with use of LPR technology. 

  • More opportunities for customer friendly RPP policy innovations that advance the City’s Transit First, Vision Zero and Climate Action goals. 

Enforcement  

This transition is made possible through the use of License Plate Recognition (LPR) technology for RPP enforcement. With LPR technology, enforcement vehicles read license plate numbers as they drive through neighborhoods, checking in real time if vehicles have a permit. The system will notify Parking Control Officers if a vehicle without a permit is found to be parked overtime without a permit.  

Privacy Protections  

SFMTA policies regarding the use of LPR technology for parking enforcement is in full compliance with state and with pending local legislation on the use of surveillance technology. All images obtained through the LPR system, with the exception of those associated with a violation, are automatically purged after seven days. Images associated with a violation will be purged after 365 days. Access to images will be limited to authorized vendor support staff and SFMTA employees for the purpose of citation processing, payment and review.