SAN FRANCISCO—The San Francisco County Transportation Authority is exploring how a congestion pricing fee would move traffic and achieve safety, sanitary, and equity goals. Three to five years of technical analysis, community outreach, and coordination would be needed to implement a congestion pricing program in San Francisco.

Congestion is increasing again after a significant decrease during the global pandemic, according to the SFCTA. Implementing a congestion fee could get traffic moving, increase public safety, clean the air, and advance equity.

The pricing zone under consideration is in northeastern San Francisco. Drivers would be charged a fee according to income status to cross the zone during rush hours. The SFTCA will be studying ways to make a pricing program that is fair to San Francisco residents and tourists.

“Most of the drivers downtown during peak hours are in households making over $100,000. By charging a fee to drivers who can afford it and providing discounts and exemptions for those who can’t, we can get traffic moving and improve transit, bike and pedestrian options,” stated the SFTCA in a press release.

The Downtown Congestion Pricing Team developed three scenarios that will protect low-income households and meet the goals of the SFTCA. The three scenarios feature a full exemption for the lowest-income drivers, a discount for drivers with disability, a per/trip fee for Uber rides, and a 20-25 percent increase in transit service to accommodate additional ridership.

The fee for higher-income drivers would be $6.50. Public input throughout this study will help keep shaping pricing scenarios into an equitable program.