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Release date: July 31, 2008

*** Press Release ***

SFMTA Reminds Drivers To Protest Parking Citations The Right Way—In Writing

Agency Unveils New Parking Control Officer Assault Prevention Outreach Campaign to Support these Key Public Safety Officers

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) today reminds drivers to protest parking tickets the right way—in writing. The agency also unveiled a public awareness campaign that will begin in the fall to emphasize that Parking Control Officers (PCOs) are only doing their jobs and should not be the targets of assault or other abuse.

Motorists should also bear in mind that all parking fines under $100 will increase by $10 beginning August 1. If any San Francisco motorist receives a parking citation he or she believes was issued in error, he or she should follow the protest procedure and not confront the Parking Control Officer (PCO) issuing the citation.

"All of our public safety officers, including PCOs, deserve to be treated with respect in the course of carrying out their duties," said Mayor Gavin Newsom.

Parking citations may be protested in writing within the timeframe stated either on the back of the citation or in the mailed courtesy notice (see below for more detail). The management of San Francisco’s streets and parking requires the enforcement of local and state parking laws. Specific tips for protesting a ticket are attached.

Assaults on PCOs decreased by half in 2007, down to 16 from a high of 28 in 2006; however, the current number of three assaults in 2008 is still unacceptable. Prior to 2007, the number of assaults on PCOs by angry motorists threatening or assaulting officers in the course of performing their duties was climbing steadily.

In 2007 Assemblyman Mark Leno secured the passage of Assembly Bill 1686, which doubled the fine for assaults on public safety officers from $1,000 to $2,000. The SFMTA will continue to work with Assemblyman Leno to advance the enactment of additional penalties, including the suspension of a perpetrator’s driver’s license.

"Parking Control Officers are dedicated public servants who have the right to conduct their work free from violence," said District Attorney Kamala D. Harris. "My office is committed to prosecuting those who threaten the safety of our city workers."

"Our PCOs have one of the toughest jobs in the City,” commented Nathaniel P. Ford, Sr., SFMTA Executive Director/CEO. “I want to make it clear that we take every assault against an SFMTA employee seriously and are committed to working with the San Francisco Police Department and the District Attorney to aggressively pursue charges against anyone who harms them."

The SFMTA Board of Directors approved the increase in parking citation fines as part of the Charter-mandated balanced budget on April 15, 2008.

A complete list of parking citation fines can be found at:

How to Protest a Parking Citation

  • Written protests must be submitted within 21 days of the citation issuance or 21 days of the courtesy notice.
  • Mail or drop-off a written protest to: SFMTA Citation Review, 11 South Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94103. (Monday through Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m.).
  • You do not need to make a payment while the citation is under the first level of review.
  • Do not use the envelope attached to the citation for protests. That is for payment only and doing so may delay your protest.
  • Make your case. Include any evidence, such as photographs or diagrams with your written protest.
  • Remember that while the protest is being processed, late penalties are not added to the citation.
  • If the protest is denied, you may request an in-person or mail hearing within 21 days of the denial letter. Instructions on how to do this will be in the letter.
  • If your protest is denied at the hearing, you may appeal to the Superior Court within 30 days of the decision.
  • Please read carefully the instructions on the citation, courtesy notice and all SFMTA correspondence.


  • Pay or protest within the deadlines, or late penalties will be added to your citation.
  • Payment: Citations may be paid by mail, by phone, or online at
  • Community Service: If you cannot afford to pay your parking fines, you may be eligible for an alternative payment, such as “Project 20” community service or a three-month payment plan.

Note: Alternative payment options are not available to those seeking to reclaim a vehicle that has been booted or towed.

If you have further questions, please contact the SFMTA Customer Service Center at 415-701-3000 or

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