San Francisco Taxis

Tips & Pricing for Taking an SF Taxi in the City and from SFO

Get tips for grabbing one of the San Francisco taxis including pricing information and more. Also find tips for getting a San Francisco taxi at SFO.

There are a number of San Francisco transportation options and taxis are great for those wanting a quick and easy ride to their destination. Taxis are a little more expensive than other San Francisco public transportation options, but they are definitely less of a hassle.

There are a few different SF taxi companies. Yellow Cab and Luxor Cab companies are the two largest. s

Tips for Grabbing a Taxi in San Francisco

There are a few things that you can do in order to grab one of the hundreds of San Francisco taxis. The first step is in knowing if a taxi is available or not.

If the top 'TAXI' light on the hood of their car is on, then the taxi is open. Make sure it's the TAXI light and not the surrounding lights on their hood. Some taxis have lights surrounding their TAXI light and they will shut off just the TAXI portion of the light when they are full.

san francisco taxi

To hail a San Francisco taxi, make sure that you are far enough out for them to see you. The idea is not to just leave your hand up, but to try to engage with the driver to let them know you are seeking a San Francisco cab.

I see it time and time again where people just have their hand up and aren't paying attention. They then get frustrated that the taxi doesn't stop. Think about the fact that you are trying to flag them down, not that you are raising your hand to ask to ask a question.
Sometimes you will also notice that a taxi will see you, but they won't stop. This will happen from time to time. The reason or this is that they may have answered a call to pick someone up or they are heading back to return their car. Either way, this doesn't happen often, but don't be frustrated if it happens to you.

Once you grab a taxi, make sure you give them the entire address or the nearest cross streets. Many cab drivers are very familiar with the city. However, the more information you provide to them, the better off you are in knowing you will get to the right place.

Not all of the San Francisco taxis have credit card machines, so it's best to have cash available to pay for your ride. If you don't have cash and need to use a credit card, confirm with the driver before you get in that they have a credit card machine and that it's working. Most have machines, but some of them do not have working machines.

You'll find cabs throughout the city. It's easiest to head to a busy intersection which is where more cabs look for customers. You can also stop by a hotel, if you can't find a taxi on your own, and they will get a cab for you.

Top SF Hotels

Tips for Grabbing a Taxi at SFO

There are also a few tips for grabbing a taxi at the largest of the three San Francisco airports: SFO. Outside of each terminal, there is a designated spot where you can pick up a cab ride into the city.

The taxi stand is located on the same level as the baggage claim area. Follow the signs above the doors that lead outside and it will take you to the door that is right near the taxi stand.

Once you head outside, you'll see the yellow painted post that says taxi. You'll have to walk across the non-public transportation pick up lanes to the center island. From there, you'll see the person managing the people that need one of the San Francisco taxis and the taxis lined up.

Either get in line or check in with the person managing the process. Don't just grab a cab because they will make you get out of the cab and wait for your turn in line.

Once you grab your taxi, tell the driver the location you want to go to including the address and any cross streets. There are a number of hotel chains in the city with a number of locations, so make sure you have all the details you need in order for the cab driver to get you to the correct location.

All cabs that pick up customers at SFO are required to have a credit card machine. If you are using a credit card, just confirm with the driver that their machine works before you get in. I find that sometimes their machine is not working.

I recommend grabbing a San Francisco taxi at the airport if you have more than two people in your group. I also recommend it for those that don't want to hassle with the time of taking a shuttle or aren't too concerned with the additional cost.

San Francisco Taxi Pricing

The fares for San Francisco taxis are standard for every company. The fee starts at $3.10 for the first 1/5 of a mile. Each additional 1/5 of a mile is an additional $0.45.

There is also a charge for waiting in traffic. The cost is $0.45 for each minute of waiting in traffic.

There is an additional $2 surcharge for all taxis that pick up passengers at SFO. This surcharge is passed along to you, the passenger. They will add it to the cost once you arrive at your destination.

Here are some estimated trip costs to and from SFO and in and around the city. Fares will vary slightly if you run into traffic along the way:

  • It's about $10 to $12 to get from Union Square San Francisco to Fishermans Wharf & Pier 39 San Francisco

  • It's about $35 to $40 to get from SFO to Union Square San Francisco

  • It's about $40 to $45 to get from SFO to Fishermans Wharf and Pier 39 San Francisco

  • It's common to tip cab drivers about 15% of the fare. I do not tip on the $2 service fee that is added for all trips from SFO.

Costs in and around the city are usually anywhere from $10 to $15. If you are heading to an area a little further out but still in the city, then you might have a fare of around $20.

Overall, there are a number of San Francisco taxis available to help you get around the city. It's a fast and easy San Francisco public transportation option.

Best SF Attractions

New! Comments

Thanks for visiting! Do you have a question or comment about what you just read? Leave me a note below!

Back to the Top

Today's top deals

Free 2018 SF Planning Guide!

Sign up for the SFTourismTips email 
& get your free guide today!

Upcoming Events Right Nav Graphic

Top Attractions

Twin Peaks

Hop On Hop Off

Wine Tours

Free Museum Admission Days

Sports Events

Theater Calendar

Contact | Home