Parking Meters

Parking Meter Locations and Rates
Parking Rules: What You Need to Know
Broken Meters
Residential Parking Permits at the Meter
Ways to Pay
Further Information


  • 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, and credit or debit cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover). 
  • For more information about San Francisco's award-winning parking pilot project, SFpark, visit the SFpark project page.

Parking Meter Locations and Rates

Parking Meter Rules

  • 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
    • Nine off-street parking lots
    • Special Event Area around Oracle Park and Chase Center during special events
  • During events, meters near Oracle Park and Chase Center charge special event rates
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • When paying at a multi-space paystation, you will enter either your vehicle's license plate number or the number adjacent to the parking space. 
  • 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 physical form of payment--that is, the meter accepts neither coins nor debit/credit card.
  • Always check the meter: if it can accept any physical form of payment (so either coins or debit/credit card are accepted), then it is not broken and must be paid.
  • If you park at a broken meter, parking is limited to the posted time limit.
  • 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 physical form of payment (coins or debit/credit card), then it is not broken and must be paid.

Residential Parking Permits at the Meter

Residential parking permits exempt vehicles from the posted time limits on blocks in the RPP area it is issued for, indicated by the one- or two-letter permit area designation on the sign. In limited areas, permits also exempt vehicles from meter payment on blocks where “Except [Permit Area] Permits” signs are posted if the permit associated with the vehicle matches the permit on the sign. You can read more about these types of blocks on the Pay or Permit parking webpage. Permits do not exempt drivers from the requirement to move vehicles every 72 hours, paying on metered blocks that are not signed as Pay or Permit meters, or color curb restrictions such as Tow Away, passenger loading, or commercial loading zones.

Further Information


  • No receipts are provided at on-street meters. For receipts, register for an account at PayByPhone or call 866.490.7275.
  • Receipts may be printed at pay stations located in off-street metered lots. You are not required to display this receipt.


The SFMTA cannot provide refunds for credit, debit or pay-by-phone meter charges.

Parking Meter Cards

The pre-paid parking meter card program has been discontinued as the current smart card chip technology is no longer supported or available from a manufacturer.  Customers who still have a parking meter card with stored value are able to use their card at SFMTA parking meters and paystations We encourage you to take advantage of our credit card payment option accepted at all parking meters, or the PayByPhone program available on all iPhone or Android devices.

Businesses may sign-up for an account with PayByPhone to support multiple vehicles, providing the ability to obtain usage and location reports, and eliminating the risk of loss associated with the physical meter cards. More information can be found at

Customers who wish to continue to use a pre-paid option may obtain Visa/Mastercard cards at many locations, including most Walgreens and Target stores. Existing (previously purchased) meter smart card will continue to be accepted until the card balance is exhausted.


Pay By Phone Issues

Wrong Location, Duration or Vehicle Plate Entered

Start a new parking session to avoid a citation.

Unable To Extend Parking Session

Some locations prevent customers from repeat parking after staying the maximum time until a 30-minute wait time has passed.

My Account Is Suspended or Locked

  • Check the Android or iOS version, it may be outdated.
  • Have you entered the correct account number, your 10 digit phone number, or 11-digit if you signed up with a +1?
  • To reset PIN after 3 incorrect attempts, you must wait 15 minutes.
  • Did you recently have a failed transaction because your card expired or was flagged as lost/stolen?

Pay By Phone Support can check on this if you send your 10-digit phone number through their website.

Didn't Receive SMS Reminder Text

Have you enabled in-app notifications on your Android or iOS device? Delayed SMS deliveries or non-delivery may occur when your network is experiencing problems.

Pay By Phone Support

24/7 Support Helpline:  1.877.610.2054