San Francisco, CA – Tips for Taking a Taxi

Hailing a cab

When hailing a cab in San Francisco the number one rule is to make sure you are getting in a licensed taxi cab. The San Francisco Taxi Commission recommends you look for the following identifiers:

  • The words “San Francisco Taxi Cab” written on the side and rear of cab
  • A small metal license plate on the dashboard
  • A driver’s ID visible from the backseat

All licensed San Francisco taxis are insured and all drivers have undergone background checks.

Once you have made sure that you are hailing a licensed cab make sure to check the rooftop light to see if the cab is available or not. When the sign is illuminated, the taxi is available!

If you are having trouble hailing a cab try going to popular tourist areas like Fisherman’s Wharf, Market Street, or Union Square as there are normally a greater number of cabs in these areas. If you are still having trouble hailing a cab on the street, try going to the nearest major hotel and having them hail one for you.

If you are not in the city or near a cab stand, your best bet is to call a taxi in advance. Wait time can be long so it is always recommended to call a taxi earlier rather than later!


The standard rates in San Francisco are $3.50 for the first 1/5 mile and $0.55 each additional 1/5 mile. If the taxi is not moving you will be charged $0.55 per minute of waiting time.

While the rates within San Francisco City limits are simple, there is a complicated rule whenever a taxi exceeds fifteen (15) miles beyond the city limits. When this happens the fare will be one hundred fifty percent (150%) of the metered rate. For trips exceeding fifteen (15) miles from San Francisco International Airport and not terminating within the city limits, the fare will be one hundred fifty percent (150%) of the metered rate except for those trips from San Francisco International Airport traversing through San Francisco going to Marin County or to the East Bay, the fifteen (15) mile limit will apply from the city limits of San Francisco as set forth above.


  • Passengers pay for all bridge tolls
  • There is a $2.00 airport surcharge
  • There is no luggage surcharge


How much should I tip a San Francisco taxi driver?

  • You should tip 15 to 20 percent of the total fare.

How many taxis are in San Francisco?

  • There are about 1,500 taxis in the city of San Francisco

How much does a trip from the airport to San Francisco cost?

  • A taxi trip from the Airport to downtown San Francisco will generally cost you around $40.

Airport to City Center

When you arrive at the San Francisco International Airport (SFO) you will proceed outside by following the signs for the taxi stand. Each terminal has their own taxi stand so you won’t have to travel far to get in line. Once you have been assigned a taxi driver at the stand give your driver your destination. If you are going to downtown San Francisco your ride will cost approximately $40 and will take about 25 to 35 minutes.


If you have a dispute regarding a taxi ride from a San Francisco cab, you can call 311 or 415-701-2311.