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.