About The Bay: Taking On Tour Buses In San Francisco’s Union Square

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Pedestrians carry shopping bags as they walk through the Union Square shopping district San Francisco. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Pedestrians carry shopping bags as they walk through the Union Square shopping district San Francisco. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – A crowded summer for tourists and traffic in downtown San Francisco has caused a crackdown on tour buses that clog the streets.

Tourism is San Francisco’s biggest industry, but since it’s illegal to solicit on the city and county of San Francisco, that means the tour buses can’t sell tickets on the street or even let people know about their prices.

KCBS’ Mike Sugerman Reports About The Bay:

There are plenty of citations around Union Square. The first time the ticket can go up to $250, the second time around it can jump to $750, and the third time it can go to $1,000.

Paul Naso of Deluxe Sightseeing has received three citations in the last few weeks. He said crackdowns have come and gone, but this is the toughest.

Handing out many of the tickets is Officer Carl Payne, who knows tourism and Union Square. The former cable car gripman and 10-time champion of the Cable Car Bell-Ringing Contest, he hates seeing the buses around Union Square.

“Union Square is the only little green area we have in downtown San Francisco,” he said. “Why would they want to surround the park with smelly, stinky tour buses?”

Some in the tourism industry plan to challenge the tickets in court.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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