Do’s and don’ts of parking in SF:

Download Parking Rules

Sign the Petition to Protect Your Rights! Tell David Chiu you don’t appreciate his legislation that takes away your right to a trial, makes you responsible for the actions of others, and eliminates protections against cities running speed traps. Details on AB-342.

Online Ticket Protest Platform

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), which oversees transportation in the city, including the Municipal Railway (Muni), recently launched a new portal that allows customers to protest parking and transit violations online at

Robot Lawyer Overturns $4 Million in Parking Tickets

By : newsweek – excerpt

Advise on how to deal with Tow tickets:
“For unmetered areas, “No Parking” signs must be posted no less than seventy-two (72) hours prior to the enforcement start time. For metered spaces, “No Parking” signs must be posted no less than twenty-four (24) hours prior to the enforcement start time.”
Forgot to take photos? Yep, I’ve been there. Try obtaining a copy of the SFMTA permit–check the location and exact time the tow occurred. Usually the job of posting signage is contracted out through a 3rd party which may or may not do the job correctly. I’ve seen “No Parking” signs re-used, yet have been expired over a month.
You may have an angle based on the handicapped placard, if there were no temporary spaces set up during the time of the street closure.
Hope that helps with building your case. Tickets get dismissed on even tiny errors – missing VIN, incorrect color, etc. Best of luck!

SFMTA Sucks!

Meter Maid Tips on Avoiding Parking Tickets in SF

Here’s Why You Should Fight Your Muni Fare Evasion Ticket: As SF Examiner reports, card readers aboard non-Metro, above-ground vehicles like streetcars and busses don’t actually acknowledge your payments until the driver’s shift is over, which may not be for hours. Thus, if an SFPD officer comes aboard a bus doing a routine check for crime and fare evaders, he or she can’t properly check your Clipper Card without a handheld reader, or without going to a device located by the driver’s seat in which they can see any recent use of the car via a swipe…
As for tagging your card on the underground Muni, well, that supposedly registers immediately on your account. But this system is full of holes, people! And those trains have made you late for work or for appointments more times than you can count! Don’t let them push you around if you swiped it somewhere and something went wrong and — who knows?! Stranger things have happened. Here are some various ideas for fighting a citation by way of a hearing. And to track the parking meters, here is a parking angel –…  (more)

Fight parking tickets with Fixed
San Francisco: Log your ticket complaints on

What happened to innocent until proven guilty and due process?
 A petition that questions lack of due process of paying for traffice tickets you are before proven guilty, The Court only ASSUMES your guilt instead of innocence.

Tell your story on My Parking Story
and write your supervisor. (scroll down the page)

State: File a Consumer Complaint with the California State Attorney General
Class Action case filed in LA : Are LA’s parking ticket fines and late fees unconstitutional?
Federal: The USDOT Office of Inspector General (OIG) maintains a hotline to facilitate the reporting of allegations of fraud, waste, abuse, or mismanagement in U.S. Department of Transportation’s programs and operations. Their phone is 1-800-424-9071.

Join the National Motorists Association for regular updates on national efforts to protect drivers’ interests here:

Stop Red Light Camera Abuse – kill AB666
Hayward scrapping Red light cameras
Redwood City and San Rafael are considering ending their red-light camera programs.
San Francisco red light camera tickets
Help! I Got a Ticket! (SoCal)
HIghway Robbery
Ticket Assassin
Annoying Parking Ticket (SoCal) has this about SFMTA:
Annoying parking ticket from san francisco 
May’s article Parking in SF? Good Luck! Warn Drivers The CurbTXT service in San Francisco lets people text car owners using their license plate numbers.
The Loophole That Will Get You a $72 Refund from SFMTA (if you got a sunday meter ticket during the grace period.)

Parking Guru, David LaBua : You have only 21 days from the date of your ticket to contest it with SFMTA, so don’t delay if you feel the ticket is not justified.
He is coming out with an app soon. To find out more ways that you can save money on parking tickets, click here. To check out the free Beta version (version 2.0 coming out in about week) of VoicePark, the app that guides you by voice to the nearest available parking spot, click here.

TRAFFIC TICKETS – Your Options in Traffic Court:

  • Not guilty – this one is pretty much self-explanatory. You plead not guilty and come back in a few months with witnesses and/or evidence to testify against the cop. Of course, if you’re lucky, the cop doesn’t show up and you’re done.
  • No contest/guilty – I think the difference between these two is more important for criminal court. When you plead no contest you’re basically admitting guilt, but that plea cannot be used against you in a civil case. Guilty, is well, straight up guilty. Either way you’ll end up paying the fine. A google search will turn up the nuanced and theoretical differences between the two if you’re interested.
  • Schedule an informal hearing – this option confused me the most because I wasn’t expecting it. For what I could garner, if you decide on this option, you get to make your case before a judge/commissioner on the same day! For this convenience, you have to forfeit some of your rights, such as the right to cross-examine the cop, or the right to appeal. Remember, that if you are issued a police report, you automatically get a hearing with the judge, BUT you still get to schedule a trial if you want.. (more)

3 thoughts on “Tickets

  1. Posted for a reader:

    I’m just appalled that the fines for parking tickets have gone up AGAIN! This means more financial sacrifices and hardship for San Franciscans who need to drive cars. The fines end up discriminating against those who can least afford it: families, senior citizens, the disabled, etc.

    Just imagine the choice a hypothetical mother must make. Imagine that she must tote her infant and her toddler along to pick up her first-grader after school ends. Imagine trying to juggle the baby, the baby backpack, the toddler, the stroller with diapers, bottles, snacks, toys, and extra clothes, and her first-grader with a school project, lunchbox, jacket. Can she really be expected to walk to a MUNI stop, wait for a late bus, board with her infant and toddler, perhaps have to transfer to a second bus, and have to do it all again once she has picked up her first-grader? Or she could drive her car, but she can’t afford to pay the ever-increasing parking fines when she returns late to the parking meter.

    Just imagine the choice a hypothetical senior must make. Imagine that he lives on a fixed income, has painful arthritis, and must get to his doctor’s office for an appointment. Can he really be expected to walk to a MUNI stop in the rain, careful not to slip on the wet, uneven sidewalks, have to stand and wait for a late bus to arrive, board it and try not to fall down when the bus lurches before he’s seated, ride to his stop, and then walk again to his doctor’s appointment? Or he could drive his car and park in a handicapped spot close to his doctor, but he can’t afford to pay the ever-increasing parking fines when he returns late to the parking meter.

    Just imagine the choice a hypothetical worker must make. Imagine that she lives in a suburban community far away from her job, which requires a one-and-a-half hour car commute each way. Can she really be expected to walk at dawn to a MUNI stop, wait for a late bus to arrive, ride it, transfer to the ferry, wait for the ferry, ride it, and then walk the final leg to her job, work a full day, and then do it all over again, and arrive home after her children are already asleep? Or she could drive her car, but she can’t afford to pay the ever-increasing parking fines when she returns late to the parking meter.

    Why are the car drivers always penalized when San Francisco needs a cash infusion?

    Why aren’t San Francisco’s politicians required to ride MUNI to work?

    Just wondering…

    – Angela Reitz


  2. Reader Comment:

    Actually there is a catch 22 with collecting fares or using the clipper card.. Look at the MUNI memo here:

    When a fare box or clipper card reader is broken, the muni driver cannot issue a paper transfer. So when the clipper card rider or cash payer rider goes upstairs and meets an inspector, they do not have any proof they paid the fare! MTA collects $140 instead of $2 for the fare.

    Looks like the service logs play a big role in providing evidence.

    Found an article by Leah Garchik from Sept. 2012 about her Muni problem


  3. Pingback: Book ’em Danno: The San Francisco neighborhoods with the most parking tickets | Meter Madness

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