San Francisco Drivers Find Out The Hard Way That Parking Meters Didn't Take The Holiday Off

In many cities, parking meters take a day off on Sundays or on holidays, leaving car owners free of worrying about that dang expired meter. But even though the city of San Francisco added holidays like Labor Day, Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Veterans Day to its list of days where meter fees count in 2010, many residents complained of getting tickets this past Labor Day.

Parking enforcement officers were out and about yesterday ticketing cars, reports the San Francisco Chronicle, and there were enough offenders that it would appear that many residents are clueless about the no-free-pass on holidays rules. A parking enforcement officer said it seems like drivers don’t realize they’re going to get ticketed because it’s a holiday.

“On this street there are a lot of people who haven’t paid, and that’s not the way it is most days,” said the officer, adding that “they’re lucky there’s only me out here today” working a large area.

The uptick in tickets on holidays could be blamed on the lack of stickers or signs informing drivers that there’s no freebies on such days, complain many residents.

The city’s Municipal Transportation Agency says it’s necessary to enforce parking on holidays, because well, the city needs the money.

A spokesman said with the holiday traffic on Labor Day “our main point is to provide parking management for the holiday. But there’s no denying there’s a financial component.”

The city reported last year that adding meter enforcement on the additional holidays, along with its existing rules for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents Day, Columbus Day and the day after Thanksgiving brought in $1.5 million in new revenue  — mostly from issuing parking tickets, and not gleaning change from the meters.

Residents complain that the only day to park for free right now is Sunday — but that’s changing as of January. San Fransciscans will get tickets for expired meters seven days a week, with the only truly free days landing on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s.

Surely a simple sign saying “Hey, you can barely ever park here for free” wouldn’t be out of the question, San Francisco. Always watch where you park, because skimping on a few quarters could end up costing a lot more in the long run. And don’t assume holidays are a free pass, because you know what assuming does (it makes a you-know-what out of “u” and “me,” am I right?).

No holiday for parking meters in S.F. [San Francisco Chronicle]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.