Commuter Shuttles Policy and Pilot Program

Project Overview

Photo of multiple shuttles using Muni zone at 8th and Market

The SFMTA is conducting an 18-month pilot that will test a limited network of shared Muni and commuter shuttle stops. Shuttle service providers must apply and pay for a permit to use the network. This pilot aims to minimize impacts of commuter shuttles while supporting their beneficial operations. The pilot addresses commuter shuttles that operate within San Francisco and between San Francisco and jobs in other cities. The pilot term is August 2014 through January 2016. An evaluation of the pilot is now available: see the Documents & Reports tab.

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Project Details

Commuter Shuttle Program Policy Document, October 2015 (pdf)

Commuter Shuttle Pilot Network map, August 2015 (pdf)

Commuter Shuttle Pilot Network zone list, January 2016 (pdf)

The number of privately operated shuttles in San Francisco has grown rapidly in recent years and growth is expected to continue into the foreseeable future.  Shuttles support local San Francisco and regional goals by decreasing single occupancy vehicle (SOV) trips, vehicle miles traveled (VMT), and private vehicle ownership, while encouraging walking and transit use.

However, the City’s policy framework has not accounted for this vital and growing segment of the market. The lack of guidelines for where and when loading/unloading is allowed has resulted in confusion for shuttle operators and neighborhood residents; inconsistent enforcement; and, real and perceived conflicts with other transportation modes.

In January, 2014 the SFMTA Board approved an 18-month pilot to test sharing designated Muni zones with eligible commuter shuttles that pay a fee and comply with permit terms.

  • The SFMTA may develop a network of up to 200 shared Muni and shuttle stops
    • Shuttle transportation service providers proposed which Muni stops should be considered to become shared stops
    • SFMTA solicited input from residents, Muni operations on street conditions to consider when evaluating proposed stops
    • SFMTA traffic engineering and service planning staff are evaluating proposed stops in light of shuttle sector preferences, street conditions, Muni operations, and stop configuration
    • SFMTA public hearings, and associated notification, are held to approve network of shared stops
  • Shuttle service providers apply for a permit to use network, and pay a fee for permit
    • Permit fees will recover SFMTA's costs for program, estimated at $3.5 million over the 18-month pilot
  • Permittees are responsible for ensuring that their operators comply with agreed-upon operating guidelines, including displaying a placard that identifies them as a permitted user
  • Parking Control Officers, Street Inspectors enforce stopping at designated shared stops to limit the use to Muni and permittees; they enforce stoping at other Muni zones to limit the use to Muni
  • Permittees share data on operations with the SFMTA, following specifications established by the SFMTA
  • SFMTA will evaluate the pilot to inform a long-term policy approach to commuter shuttles
  • Clear and enforceable guidelines for shuttle loading and unloading
  • Improved safety in shuttle interactions with other users
  • Reduced vehicle miles traveled and drive alone trips
  • Positive partnership between City agencies and private sector transportation partners
Key Dates/Deadlines

November 2011 – August 2012

Existing conditions data collection

September 2012

Existing conditions summary

Spring- Summer 2013

Pilot policy development

Fall 2013

Develop implementation plan; draft legislation

January 21, 2014

SFMTA Board Action on pilot and legislation

February 2014

  • Shuttle service providers submit stop preferences
  • Community input open houses, web-based input
March-May 2014  SFMTA development of proposed network
June 2014
  • Public hearing on proposed network
  • Permit applications and processing
July 2014
  • SFMTA Board hearing on fee adjustment
  • Permit issuance
  • Signage installation
August 2014- January 2016
  • Pilot implementation
  • Evaluation


Shuttle service providers will pay a permit and use fee to cover the costs of the pilot program, estimated at $3.5 million.


This project requires collaboration between various divisions within the SFMTA, including: Transit Service Planning, Transit Operations, Parking, and Finance, and Enforcement. This work is informed by the San Francisco County Transportation Authority’s 2011 Strategic Analysis Report on the commuter shuttle sector. 

Private sector partners include shuttle sevice providers, and employers and institutions that sponsor shuttle service.


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We will send you e-mail or SMS updates whenever the following are posted for the Commuter Shuttles Policy and Pilot Program:

  • Upcoming meetings
  • Project updates

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