How to Become a Taxi Driver

Prerequisites and application steps

Below you can review the steps in the process for becoming a trusted driver of a San Francisco taxi.

Step-by-step instructions

1The Prerequisites

(1) Proof of Residency

You must be a legal resident of the United States.

(2) Personal Hygiene

Professional — Be clean in dress and person.

(3) Good Health

Be free of any disease, condition, infirmity, or addiction that might render the applicant unable to safely operate a motor vehicle or that otherwise poses a risk to public health and safety.

(4) CA Driver's License

Have a current California driver's license and have held a valid driver's license issued in the United States for one year immediately prior to the date of application.

(5) Able to Drive 4+ Hours

Have the physical capacity to operate a motor vehicle for at least four hours per day.

(6) Criminal History

Have no prior convictions of a crime that would, in the judgment of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), present a risk to public safety if the permit is granted, including but not limited to convictions involving sexual assault, the use of a vehicle in the commission of a felony, fraud, violence against a person, reckless disregard for public safety, two or more recent convictions of drug-related offenses, or two or more recent convictions of driving under the influence within the previous five years, whether or not such convictions occurred while driving a Motor Vehicle for Hire.

(7) Legal Age

Have attained the age of 21.

(8) Language Proficiency

Speak, read and write the English language.

(9) Drug History

Receive a negative test result on the pre-issuance drug test under the Taxi Driver Drug and Alcohol Testing Policy. In addition, have not, within the past two years, failed a pre-employment drug or alcohol test that resulted in the applicant not getting hired.

2New Driver Pre-Screening


Go to the SFMTA Taxi Services office for New Driver Pre-Screening. 

One South Van Ness, 7th Floor

Monday - Friday 9:00 to 11:30 am or 2:00 to 5:00 pm.

3Taxi Training

Find a Taxi Training School

Attend and complete the taxi training at one of the approved Taxi Schools below. Obtain a Taxi Training Certificate and Sensitivity Training Certificate 

Golden Bear Taxi  School 415-763-8394

          1200 Mississippi Street

          San Francisco, CA 94107


San Francisco Taxi School    415-202-3728

           555 Selby (at Flywheel Cab)

          San Francisco, CA 94124  


Taxi Driver Institute  415-701-TAXI (8294)

            2940 – 16th Street, Room 314 

            San Francisco, CA 94103 



4Fingerprinting & Background Check

Get Fingerprinted

After completeing taxi school, return to SFMTA Taxi services office to pick up a form. Obtain a fingerprint and background check from one of the listed Live Scan locations on the given form. 

5Drug Screening

Get Drug Tested

After completeing taxi school, return to SFMTA Taxi services office to pick up a Chain of Custody and Donor form. Obtain a drug test from one of the listed clinic locations on the given form.

6Driving History

10 Year Printout of Driving Record

Obtain a ten (10) year printout of your driving record from the Department of Motor Vehicles. (Note: Printout must be dated within 30 days of the application)

7Apply at SFMTA

Pay Application Fee

Bring items from steps two through six to SFMTA Taxi Services, One South Van Ness, 7th Floor during application hours: Monday-Friday 9:30 to 11:30 am or 2:00 to 4:00 pm.

*Notice:  Due to a current shortage of taxi drivers, the $255.50 application fee for new drivers will be waived for all driver permit (A-Card) applicants until further notice.

You will be given an application to complete. You will then be assigned the next available test date and provided the Rules and Regulations for SFMTA and SF Airport. SFMTA classes are held  every Thursday of the month (space is limited with first come, first served). 

Take the Class and Test

The Class and test are held (unless otherwise notified) 8:50am - 4:00pm at One South Van Ness Ave, Second Floor Atrium San Francisco, CA 94103

There will be a class in the morning with speakers from organizations including the SFMTA Taxi Services, Bicycle Coaltion, Lighthouse for the Blind, and SF Paratransit. There will be a lunch break and a test in the afternoon. 

Temporary Permit

Upon completion of the one-day class and passing of the exam, a temporary permit will be given to you. It can be picked up the following week after the exam at One South Van Ness Ave, 7th Floor San Francisco, CA 94103. Once the temporary permit is issued, you may begin to work as a San Francisco taxicab driver.

8A-Card and Badge

Contact SFMTA in 8 Weeks

After eight (8) weeks from when you received your temporary permit, please go to SFMTA Taxi Services to either pay for and receive your A-card and badge, or renew your temporary permit (depending on your background check results).