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Giants

About The Bay: Farewell To Free Parking Near AT&T Park

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Fans line up outside AT&T Park for Game One of the National League Championship Series between the San Francisco Giants and the St. Louis Cardinals on October 14, 2012 in San Francisco. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Fans line up outside AT&T Park for Game One of the National League Championship Series between the San Francisco Giants and the St. Louis Cardinals on October 14, 2012 in San Francisco. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – That secret, free, street spot you’ve kept quiet about when you go to a Giants game? Forget about it. Change is coming, baseball fans – so bring some change to AT&T Park.

Variable parking rates on streets around the ballpark are going into effect this year. “Those meters will run until 10 p.m. during special events like Giants games,” said Jay Primus, program manager with the San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency. “The rates will either be $5 or $7 an hour.”

The concept of variable parking rates is simple, though not necessarily cheap. There will be a different cost depending on the day – and time of day – you park. Locals don’t like it, but they reckon it’s not necessarily anything new.

“I’ve worked around here for many years and I’ve been screwed on parking,” one man lamented. “It’s part of the deal.”

But Primus explained it wasn’t just about money. “One of the goals is to discourage driving to the game,” he said.

It remained to be seen whether people really would ditch their cars for public transit.

“You have no guarantee, like no valet. Your car’s not protected. You’re paying all that extra money and it’s like hey, some rowdy person comes out and scratches your car and you’re still paying $35,” said one man.

“If that’s what you want to do,” reasoned another. “I mean you have the choice. You can always take mass transit. You don’t have to park.”

If you do elect to park, keep in mind you can pay not only with spare change but with credit card or even remotely using a smartphone.

Variable pricing isn’t just limited to ballpark parking – the cost of a seat at a game could change as well.

“We change daily. During the season we’re constantly checking, every day,” said Giants ticket manager Russ Stanley. “Certainly a starting pitcher, weather, we had promotional dates, we had fireworks shows, bobbleheads. Those all impact the value of a particular game.”

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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