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San Francisco To Consider Transit Fees On Congested City Streets

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- Congestion pricing would force drivers to pay a fee to cross into the busiest areas in San Francisco during rush hour.

The program, which is currently under study, could get traffic moving, increase safety for drivers and pedestrians, clean the air, and advance equity, according to the San Francisco County Transportation Authority.

"As a visitor and as someone who regularly comes here to see the sights, and to eat at restaurants and just to walk around and have fun, knowing that I have to spend money on everything else... really would maybe kind of drive me away," said Ben Flores of Manteca. "And if not me I'm sure other families."

Planning a congestion pricing program will take at least 3-to-5 years, according to the city.

Two zones are under consideration. The main one includes the Financial District, Chinatown, and SoMa. The larger one would be expanded to include North Beach, Russian Hill, and Fisherman's Wharf.

There could be a base fee of $6.50 to enter if you make more than $100,000 a year. To be more equitable, lower income drivers would not pay a fee, and people who paid tolls, have disabilities, or live in the zone may be eligible for discounts.

"I think it'd be pretty difficult for people to come and visit here, no matter what you pay. People like to come to the city with their family or even just like their friends," said Daniele Pasion, who was visiting San Francisco Saturday evening.

Rideshare cars like Uber and Lyft would be charged a per-trip fee.

"What I like about it is, it's a first-class service," said NJ Miller of Palo Alto. "You can drive a lot quicker to your destination if you have more money. I think it's all about, which is the Bay Area, cause the prices are so high, is that you have to pay more to get more."

The study will make recommendations based on community engagement and technical analysis by the end of the year. The state would also need to grant approval.

New York City will soon be the first U.S. city to launch a congestion pricing program.

London, Milan, and Singapore are of few places abroad that have already implemented these programs.

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