SFMTA Proposes SFPark Tour Bus Parking Management Plan

Flickr photo: ##http://www.flickr.com/photos/14946958@N06/4597272100/sizes/m/in/photostream/##omega wolff##

The hundreds of tour buses that roam San Francisco’s streets would be managed under the SF Park program as part of a proposal introduced today by Board of Supervisors President David Chiu and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA).

“As one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, tour buses often congest San Francisco’s streets,” said an SFMTA press release. “The passenger loading zones are crowded and some buses stay longer than necessary, encouraging other tour buses to double-park or use Muni stops. Also, with few places to park while their customers visit destinations, some buses end up circling city streets for hours.”

The plan would utilize several strategies based on SFPark’s parking management principles:

  • Creating additional and more efficient tour bus passenger loading areas
  • Improving passenger loading area time limit enforcement
  • Providing metered on-street tour bus parking spaces where tour buses can wait while customers patronize a tourist area
  • Helping to create overnight tour bus parking areas
  • Potentially developing a permit system for tour buses to better manage and enforce tour bus parking and loading.

“Making it easier for tour buses to load, unload and park will help tour buses make an even greater contribution to San Francisco’s economy, while reducing impacts for residents,” said Chiu, who introduced the legislation at today’s Board of Supervisors meeting. “Tourists will access their destinations quickly, and everyone will benefit from safer, less congested streets.”

The SFMTA said it will also partner with the SF Police Department “to educate tour bus operators on restricted streets to prevent congestion in our neighborhoods” at the request of D2 Supervisor Mark Farrell.

“I’m pleased the SFMTA is focusing on a program to better manage the tour bus industry in our city,” Farrell said in a statement. “We also need to inform tour bus companies that they are prohibited from driving on certain streets and work with the SFPD to enforce those restrictions.”

The plan was developed “in partnership with tour bus operators, the Port of San Francisco, the Fisherman’s Wharf Community Benefit District, Supervisor David Chiu’s office and other stakeholders,” the SFMTA said.

The plan would first be implemented in Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39 and Union Square, the agency said.

  • Hank

    As a daily commuter on North Point, frequently I am forced out of the bicycle lane by tour buses not parking parallel to the curb.  I applaud the efforts to better supervise and manage tour buses.  Additionally, as a homeowner on Chestnut Street, the city has made little effort to stop corporate shuttle buses (think Facebook, Google, Genetech, and Yahoo) from driving on Chestnut Street.  Tour buses are not permitted north of Lombard Street in the Marina.

  • Susan

    Does this also apply to worker shuttle buses (the same size as tour buses in most cases)? The Google Bus picks up at the bus stop on the corner and waits in the bus stop so when Muni comes by, passengers have to weave between cars to get into the street so the Muni driver sees them and load in the street while Google bus idles in the bus stop. At the minimum, Google should pay for the use of SFMTA bus stops.

  • Andy Chow

    With SF planning to bring America’s Cup and other tourist facilities in the next few years, SFMTA needs to be progressive about accommodating tour and other private buses. Tourists bring tax dollars and jobs to the city. Private buses compliment existing public transit and are superior to more automobiles.

  • Andy Chow

     If the law is designated for commercial vehicles above 9 passengers, then it affects all buses (except Muni vehicles, which are written as an exception, along with a few others). From a regulatory standpoint, there’s no major differences between tour buses and employee shuttles (they all have charter authority from California PUC.

  • John Murphy

     Does that imply “They can park in the Green Separated bike lanes on Market Street”? Because that’s what’s happening…

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