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Parking Meters


  • Parking meters are used to maintain parking availability in high demand areas.
  • All parking meters in San Francisco accept payment by coin, pay-by-phone, credit cards (Visa, MasterCard and Discover), and the SFMTA parking card (see Ways to Pay section below).
  • More information about San Francisco's award-winning parking pilot project, SFpark, visit the project page.

Parking Meter Locations and Rates

Ways to Pay

  • Pay-by-phone: All meters accept payment by cell phone. You can call, download an app, or use payment methods tied to Near Field Communications (NFC) capable smartphones. See the PayByPhone website for details.
  • SFMTA parking card: The SFMTA parking card is available for use in all San Francisco meters except in off-street garages. There are no refunds for parking meter card purchases.
  • Coins
  • Prepayment: You may prepay meters for the time you need even if you arrive before the meter begins enforcement. Prepayment begins at 4:30 a.m. at all meters every day (except at Port meters near waterfront). Note that if you prepay, the paid time shown on the meter will include any amount of free time between when you prepay and when the meter begins operation.  For example, if a meter begins operation at 9 a.m., and you prepay for one hour at 8 a.m., the meter will show that the meter is paid for two hours.  This means that you are paid through 10 a.m. (one free hour from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m., and one paid hour from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., for a total of the two hours shown on the meter)    

Parking Rules: What You Need To Know

  • Meters operate every day except for Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day.
  • Most meters are enforced from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Hours and rates vary.
  • Always check the meter for hours of operation.
  • Sunday meter operation:
    • Fisherman’s Wharf
    • The Embarcadero
    • Five off-street parking lots and in the
    • Special Event Area around AT&T Park during special events
  • During events (usually baseball games), meters near AT&T Park charge special event rates of $7/hour. See this page for a map of the Special Event Area and more information on special event pricing and hours.
  • Most meters in San Francisco have a two hour time limit, though approximately 25% of meters have four hour time limit or no time limit at all. Where there are time limits, "feeding the meter" (i.e., adding coins to extend the time beyond the legal limit) is not allowed and may result in a citation.
  • The SFMTA cannot provide refunds for credit or debit card meter charges. Please contact your bank or credit card company to request a refund.
  • Meters do not provide receipts or tickets.
  • Green meters have either a 15 or 30 minute time limit.
  • Red and yellow meters are designated for commercial loading; yellow for all commercial vehicles and red for vehicles with six or more wheels.
  • For more information on how to avoid parking citations, see How to Park Legally

Broken Meters

  • To report a problem with a meter, call 311. For purposes of this policy, a meter is considered broken only if it will accept no forms of payment.
  • If you park at a broken or inoperable meter, parking is limited to the posted time limit or 4 hours, whichever is shorter.
  • A flashing yellow light on a meter does not necessarily mean the meter is broken, just that it may need some sort of service. You should check the meter: if it can accept any form of payment, then it is not broken and must be paid.
  • Shopping bags, shirts, or other unofficial items covering a meter that do not have an official SFMTA stamp and logo do not mean a meter is broken. You should remove the covering and check the meter: if it can accept any form of payment, then it is not broken and must be paid.