San Francisco is the latest city to introduce dynamic pricing. “Planners at San Francisco’s Municipal Transportation Agency are putting the finishing touches on a new citywide parking meter rate system, one that will automatically hike or drop rates in popular neighborhoods depending on availability of spaces.” The plan calls for rates to be adjusted every three months. The pricing range will be from $.50 to $8.00 per hour, the price will be dependent on the demand for parking for that location. The plan operates under the premise that the higher the meter rates, the quicker people will free up spaces. A representative of San Francisco’s Municipal Transportation Agency stated that pilot programs found that rates dropped far more often than rates went up.
Of course, this new plan has its critics. San Francisco Council of District Merchants President Henry Karnilowicz is one of them. “I don’t see how increasing rates is going to make the turnover any different,” Karnilowicz said. “People will just have to pay more. If you want to increase turnover, why not just put time limits on parking?” Paul Rose from San Francisco’s MTA said that time limits would be too prohibitive. “People could be forced to cut short their meal or shopping,” he said. “Anytime you talk about parking, you are going to get some resistance,” Rose said.