How to become a San Francisco Taxicab Driver
  • A. Be a legal resident of the United States.
  • B. Be clean in dress and person.
  • C. Be free of any disease, condition, infirmity, or addiction that might render the applicant unable to safely operate a motor vehicle or otherwise poses a risk to public health and safety.
  • D. Hold a valid California driver’s license of a class sufficient for the lawful operation of the motor vehicle to be driven. (NOTE: In practice, taxi companies want to see two years of American (from any state) driving history before they will hire. –David Trotman)
  • E. Have the capacity to operate a motor vehicle at least four hours per day.
  • F. Have no prior convictions of a crime that would, in the judgment of the 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, 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 (NOTE: In my experience, taxi companies will not hire any individual who has a DUI in the last ten years – David Trotman).
  • G. Have attained the age of 21. (NOTE: The legal minimum age is 21 but the practical (the ability to get hired), minimum age is 25 - David Trotman)
  • H. Speak, read and write the English language.


  • Step 1: Obtain a five year printout of your driving record from the Department of Motor Vehicles. (NOTE: Printout must be dated within 30 days of the application). You don’t need this to start at Cab College but you will need to obtain this before completing the course.
  • Step 2: Go to the SFMTA Taxi Section for New Driver Screening, One South Van Ness 7th Floor, (Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday from 9:30AM – 11:30 AM or 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM).
  • Step 3: Attend taxi training at a Certified Taxi School (such as Cab College) and obtain a taxi training certificate.
  • Step 4: Obtain a “passport size” color or black and white (NOTE: Absolutely no large photos, do not wear a hat, scarf or sunglasses). (NOTE: Get two identical photographs, the second may come in handy for an I.D. Card or a replacement I.D. card – David Trotman)
  • Step 5: Go to SFPD Hall of Justice, Room 458 to get a Police Background Check -Fingerprinting ($82.00).
  • Step 6: Bring all of the above to the SFMTA Taxi Section, One South Van Ness 7th Floor, (Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday from 9:30AM – 11:30 AM or 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM) to submit an application for Driver Public Vehicle for Hire permit. Money order or personal checks accepted. ($104.50).



You will be scheduled for the [MUNI] taxicab class on Thursday of the same week if you apply on Tuesday or Wednesday or the following Thursday if you apply on a Thursday. Upon completion of the class and passing the test, a temporary permit is issued. Once the temporary permit is issued, you may begin to work as a San Francisco taxicab driver. In eight weeks you can pick up your permanent A-Card from the Tax Collectors office, City Hall Room 110.