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Urban Planning

San Francisco To Offer Free Taxi Rides To Essential Workers

Bernard Spragg / Flickr
Two taxi cabs in San Francisco, CA.

Public transit service in San Francisco has been cut dramatically due to the shelter in place order. Now, the city’s rolling out a new commuting option for essential workers: free taxi rides.

If you visit the Department of Environment’s website, you’ll find an application form for this new taxi program. It reimburses commuters for up to 10 rides per month. Each ride can be up to $70.

It’s not for everyone, though. To qualify, you need to be an essential worker. You also need to show that your commute has been impacted by the reduced public transit service. And the program is only for late night rides—between 9 p.m. and 8:30 a.m.

For now, the program is only accepting 70 applications, but city spokesperson Joseph Sweiss says that while late night commuters in need are the current priority, the hope is to expand the program soon.

Sweiss also explains that the focus is on taxis, not ridesharing services like Uber or Lyft. That's because the taxi industry is subject to more regulations. Drivers are required to wear protective equipment, and taxi cabs are subject to regular cleanings.

For those relying on public transit, Muni added the M Bus to their limited service last week. The modified route serves the Ocean View, Merced Heights, and Ingleside neighborhoods, and connects to the transit hubs of West Portal and Balboa Park.

BART continues to run reduced service. Riders of both BART and Muni are required to wear face masks.