What you need to know about parking meters in San Francisco
- Parking meters are used to maintain parking availability in high demand areas.
- The SFMTA has been working hard to make it easier to pay for parking and avoid citations, piloting new parking meter policies and technology and upgrading all meters to "smart" networked machines.
- 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 SFpark project website.
parking meter locations and rates
ways to pay
- Pay-by-phone: All meters accept payment by cell phone. See the PayByPhone website for details.
- SFMTA parking card: The SFMTA parking card is available for use in approximately 23,000 single-space and 250 multi-space electronic meters in San Francisco. The cards will work in all San Francisco meters except on Port of San Francisco property. There is no expiration date on the use of these cards.
- Credit card: All SFMTA meters now accept credit cards (Visa, MasterCard and Discover).
parking rules: what you need to know
- Except for Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day most meters operate and are enforced from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Hours and rates vary.
- Check the meter for hours of operation.
- Sunday meter operation and enforcement applies for Fisherman’s Wharf area, The Embarcadero, five (5) off-street parking lots and in the Special Event Area around AT&T Park during special events.
- Most meters in San Francisco have a two hour time limit, though longer time limits (four hour or no time limit) are being tested in several neighborhoods. 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.
- If you park at a broken or inoperable meter, parking is limited to the posted time limit or two hours, whichever is shorter. 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.
- Most meter rates are between $2.00 and $3.50 per hour for cars and $0.40 and $0.70 per hour for motorcycles. The city is piloting demand-responsive pricing in SFpark pilot areas, where rates incrementally adjust every 6-8 weeks based on demand and may range from $0.50 to $6.25 per hour. For information about SFpark pilot area rates, visit SFpark Rate Announcements.
- 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.
- There are two special types of meters: green-capped meters and red- or yellow- capped meters. Green meters have either a 15 or 30 minute time limit. Vehicles bearing disabled placards or plates are exempt from time limits for green curbs/meters. 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.
recent and upcoming parking meter changes
New meters installed: San Francisco has replaced all of the existing parking meters to newer electronic meters that accept credit card payment (in addition to pay-by-phone, coins, and parking cards). New meters will make parking even more convenient by making it easier to pay and avoid citations.
New Sunday hours: Effective July 1, 2014, parking meters do not operate on Sundays in most parts of the city. Sunday meter operation and enforcement applies for Fisherman’s Wharf area, The Embarcadero, five (5) off-street parking lots and in the Special Event Area around AT&T Park during special events. Meters in Fisherman's Wharf continue to operate from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day. Most meters in the Port of San Francisco jurisdiction (along the waterfront and on some side streets) will continue to operate from 7 a.m. to 10 or 11 p.m. every day. When in doubt, check the meter for hours of operation.
Longer time limits: As of January 2013, all parking meters in San Francisco have a time limit of at least two hours (formerly some had a one hour time limit). Relaxing time limits was intended to make parking more consistent and convenient.
Improved prepayment: You can now prepay meters for the time you need even if you arrive before the meter begins to be enforced – you will not be charged until the meter begins operation (e.g., at 9 a.m.). 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. In other words, the paid time shown is how much time you have before you must move your car or pay more at the meter (if time limits allow). 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).
New special event pricing and hours near AT&T stadium: As of spring 2013, higher special event parking rates are in effect only during special events, typically baseball games, on streets around AT&T Park. On non-event evenings, meter rates drop to $0.25 per hour. See this page for a map of the AT&T Park Special Event Area and more information on special event pricing and hours.