Mobility, Access and Pricing Study | Myth vs. Fact

Below we clarify some common misconceptions about the Study. You can also download a Myth vs. Fact PDF with this information.

If it costs $3 to enter and exit the priced zone, drivers could rack up $12/day or more if they need to drop off and pick up their kids from school or make multiple crossings for work-related trips.   Though several scenarios are being evaluated, in all cases there would be a daily cap of $6 for congestion charges, no matter how many times you were to cross the zone boundary.  This could also be implemented as a per period fee of $3. In either case, we recommend additional analysis in the next phases of study to develop programs that can help to mitigate minimize potential impacts on those who need to make multiple trips.

If someone lives on the edge of the priced zone, they may be charged just for going to their regular grocery store within their neighborhood.   The Study Report notes that the boundaries of any priced zone would be need to be adjusted to keep neighborhoods whole, similar to London’s program of “bubbling out” at key locations. This would be accomplished by refining the actual boundaries for each option and/or allowing households and businesses on the edge of the zone to elect whether or not to be considered within its boundaries, so that those traveling to locations just inside the general zone limits would not be charged for neighborhood travel. This would be implemented through business rules in the technology used to administer the pricing program. This issue is just one of the analysis areas that would be addressed in detail, with additional outreach during future evaluation of congestion pricing.

San Francisco would be punishing drivers, including those from outside the city, just to pay for its public transportation system.   If congestion pricing is implemented, a detailed expenditure plan would be created to ensure that those who are paying the fee receive benefits beyond faster and more reliable travel times. In any charging scenario funds collected would be reinvested in the affected corridors, with additional input on those improvements from affected communities. For example, in the case of the Southern Gateway, Peninsula travelers would likely see enhanced access in the 101/280 corridor, such as enhanced access to Caltrain and BART, increased SamTrans services including possible express bus services via carpool (high-occupancy vehicle) lanes on US101.

If San Francisco charges drivers entering the city from 101 and 280, they will just find detours through neighborhoods to avoid the fee.   Electronic toll detectors would be placed at both major and minor arterials to minimize diversions. Plus, traffic calming measures and toll enforcement would further discourage drivers from cutting through adjacent neighborhoods.

This is something that’s happening imminently, and it’s the wrong time to implement a program like this.   There are no plans for implementation at this time. On December 14, 2010, staff presented the Final Report to the Authority Board showing congestion pricing is feasible and would produce mobility and environmental benefits, as well as describing the range of public feedback. The Board approved the Study unanimously and voted 8-3 in favor of pursuing additional study of the concept, excluding the Southern Gateway alternative. However, further study and outreach is needed before any implementation could proceed.