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Ground Transportation Permits

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All commercial ground transportation providers need to obtain a permit prior to providing services at the Airport. For more information, please email the Ground Transportation Permit Processing Unit at GTU@flysfo.com.

Location

 

Ground Transportation Map

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What do I need in order to obtain an airport Limousine or Charter Ground Transportation Operating Permit?

All California-based Limousine and/or Charter Ground Transportation Operators must obtain operating authority from the California Public Utilities Commission.

Out of state operators must be licensed with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Once licensed with the state or government, you may then apply for a ground transportation permit.

2. How long will it take to obtain a ground transportation permit?

It will take approximately three weeks to process a completed application.

3. What happens when my charter permit has been approved?

You will be contacted when your permit application has been approved, finalized and your vehicle(s) added to the Airport's database. You will be asked to submit your registration fee and bond. The vehicle(s) will be scheduled for mechanical safety inspections at which time the roof mounted bus/van transponder will be installed. In addition to receiving a transponder, the mechanics will also install a matching set of decals . These decals will be installed on the back side windows and have an expiration date.

4. What happens when my limousine permit has been approved?

You will be contacted when your permit application has been approved, finalized and your vehicle(s) added to the Airport's database. You will be asked to submit your bond, registration fee and transponder deposit if you are issued a transponder from SFO. In addition, you will be instructed to bring the vehicle to the GTU at which time the mechanics will install your transponder and decals. If you have a transponder from San Jose or Oakland airports, the mechanics will check the transponder to see if it can be read at SFO.

5. Can I drop off and pick up customers at the airport while my permit is being processed?

No. All commercial vehicles used to pick up or drop off passengers at SFO must be registered with the Ground Transportation Permit Processing Unit (GTU) and display SFO decals and a transponder. Commercial vehicles not permitted at the GTU are subject to citations issued by the San Francisco Police Department - Airport Bureau.

6. I have a permit with another airport. Can I drop off my customers at SFO?

No. Each airport has its own permitting requirements. You must contact each airport to find out the airport's permitting requirements.

7. My family member wants a ride to the airport. Can I do this without a permit while my application is being processed?

The CPUC and Airport require a Waybill for every pick up and drop off at the Airport. In this case, the Waybill must indicate you are transporting a family member and there is no charge. That information must be written on the Waybill. If you have a permit and your vehicle has a transponder, you will be billed a trip fee by the airport.

8. Will I get my deposit back?

Permit and transponder deposits are refundable upon the termination of a permit. The transponder(s) must be returned to SFO in order for the deposit to be refunded. Any money owed to the airport will be deducted from the bond and transponder deposit. It will take one full billing cycle before the refund can be processed.

9. What do I do if I want to terminate my permit?

If you no longer want a ground transportation permit at SFO you must remove the decals and transponder, return them to the GTU, and ask to terminate your permit. You will have to complete and sign a Termination Request Form (pdf). Any fees owed to the airport will be deducted from your bond/transponder deposit. You will be responsible for all fees not covered by your bond/deposit.

10. Can I pay my fees with cash?

The airport cannot accept cash for any payments. Payments for fees can only be made by:

  • Credit Card - Visa or MasterCard
  • Money Order
  • Cashier's Check
  • Company Check

11. What do I do if I lose my transponder? 

You must pay for the transponder and provide a police case report number for a lost or stolen transponder issued by the San Francisco Police Department - Airport Bureau. See Fee Schedule for cost of the transponder.

12. Where do I get a police case number for a lost or stolen transponder? 

You must contact the San Francisco Police Department - Airport Bureau, Ground Transportation Unit or file online for a lost transponder. You must provide the transponder number when filing the report. There is a police service aide available in the GTU that can also make a police report. The police service aide can be reached at 650.821.3610 and the airport police can be reached at 650.821.7190.

13. What do I do if I lose my decals?

Return the vehicle to the GTU for the decal replacement. Vehicles operating at SFO without the proper decals and transponder are subject to police issued citations and administrative fines.

14. Can I get a temporary permit? 

Contact Landside Operations at 650.821.6500 if you need a temporary permit.

15. Does my vehicle need a mechanical safety inspection when I get my decals and transponder? 

Buses (11 seats or more) and vans (10 seats and under) must get a safety inspection annually by the mechanics at the GTU.

16. I have a van (10 seats and under). What must I bring to the mechanical inspection?

Each driver must check-in for the mechanical safety inspection appointment in the GTU office and present the following information to the clerk prior to the inspection appointment time:

  • Valid commercial vehicle registration
  • Valid driver 's license
  • Original brake certificate
  • Proof of insurance for the vehicle

17. Where do I get a brake certificate?

The Department of Consumer Affairs, Bureau of Automotive Repairs provides a listing of licensed brake stations. The brake certificate must be completed by an authorized technician and is valid for 90 days after issue.

18. I have a bus (11 seats of more). What do I need to bring to the mechanical inspection?

Each driver must check-in for the mechanical safety inspection appointment in the GTU office and present the following information to the clerk at the inspection appointment time:

  • Valid commercial vehicle registration
  • Valid class B driver's license
  • Proof of insurance

A CHP safety inspection report must already be on file.

19. When do my decals expire?

The decals display an expiration date depending on the type of permit.

  • Limousine decals - expire December 31 of the year
  • Charter Decals - expire April 30 of the year
  • Long Distance Decals - expire June 30 of the year
  • Scheduled, Ride-share, Crew, and Door-to-Door Pre-Arranged Decals - expire October 31 of the year
  • Hotel, Rent-a-car, Parking - expire February 28 of the year

20. Where do I put my TCP on my vehicle?

The PUC requires the placement of the TCP (visible from 50 feet and in contrasting color) on the vehicle as follows:

  • Buses ( 11 or more seats) - TCP on both sides
  • Vans (10 seats and under) - TCP on front and back bumper
    • Front bumper - passenger's side
    • Rear bumper - driver 's side
  • Limousines - TCP on front and back bumper
    • Front bumper - passenger's side
    • Rear bumper - driver 's side

21. Do I pay a deposit for my van transponder?

There is no deposit for a van or bus transponder.

22. What kind of transponder do I need for my bus/van?

All vans and buses have a roof-mounted transponder instead of the limousine window mounted transponder. At this time, there is no deposit for a roof mounted transponder.

23. What do I do if my Oakland or San Jose transponder is replaced?

If the transponder is from San Jose or Oakland Airports and is replaced, the vehicle must have the transponder immediately checked by SFO mechanics to make sure that it operates at SFO.

24. I sold my vehicle. What do I do with the transponder?

If the vehicle is sold, the transponder (if SFO) and the decals must be returned for deletion of the vehicle. Failure to return the transponder will result in the forfeiting of the transponder deposit. In addition, the company will be held responsible for all trips made by a transponder issued to the company. An Oakland or San Jose transponder must be returned to the issuing airport.
PLEASE NOTE: Do not sell your vehicle with SFO decals and/or transponder on the vehicle.

25. What do I do if my transponder falls off the windshield?

The computer chip inside your transponder is very fragile so if you remove the transponder for any reason, you must return to the GTU with your vehicle to have it checked to make sure that it is still recording properly. It may be replaced by SFO mechanics if it no longer works. The same applies for a transponder from Oakland or San Jose Airports. If you replace one of those transponders, you must bring your car to SFO and have our mechanics check to see if the transponder records on our system. If a police officer sees a transponder has been removed and re-installed, you are subject to a ticket and an administrative fine.

26. Do I need worker's compensation insurance? 

Worker's compensation insurance exemptions are as follows:

  • If company is a corporation - all corporate officers filed with California Secretary of State are exempt from worker's compensation insurance
  • If a company is an LLC - all members filed with the California Secretary of State are exempt from worker's compensation insurance
  • If a partnership - all partners listed on TCP are exempt from worker's compensation insurance
  • If an individual - the spouse may drive the vehicle if filed as a driver with the California Public Utilities Commission.

Anyone else driving your vehicle must be covered by worker's compensation insurance regardless of number of hours and relation ship to owner.

27. Where do I get worker's compensation insurance?

Contact your insurance broker or contact the State Compensation Insurance Fund. State Compensation Insurance Fund is a California non-profit public enterprise that operates as a mutual insurance carrier offering California employers insurance at cost with no financial obligation to the public.