July 14, 2011

S.F. MTA unveils plan to improve tour bus circulation

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) introduced a draft plan designed to improve tour bus circulation and parking management in San Francisco to ease related congestion as part of the SFMTA’s SFpark project.

The plan’s policies and possible regulations include:

  • Creating additional and more efficient tour bus passenger loading and unloading
  • Providing metered parking spaces where tour buses can wait for customers while they visit San Francisco
  • Helping to create overnight tour bus parking areas
  • Developing a permit system for tour buses to better manage and enforce tour bus parking and loading

As one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, San Francisco often has streets congested by tour buses. The existing 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.

At Supervisor Mark Farrell's request, the SFMTA will also partner with the San Francisco Police Department to educate tour bus operators on restricted streets to prevent congestion in neighborhoods.

The SFMTA developed the plan 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 plan’s strategies would first be implemented in Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39 and Union Square.

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