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California Driver Information

Make sure to follow these rules when giving rides in California, and keep an eye on your email for important news and updates from Lyft.

If you're applying to become a driver in California, check out the application steps.

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Get Set up to Drive

Driver Document Checklist

Make sure you always have the following with you when you enter driver mode:

Set Your Vehicle up Correctly

Display the following in your windshield:

Lyft trade dress emblems

Lyft emblem

CA emblems

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) requires drivers to always display two Lyft emblems when in driver mode — one on the front windshield and the other on the rear windshield.

Our new cling emblems use a low tack adhesive to stick to the window, which is not a permanent adhesive.

If you haven't received yours in the mail, let us know. In the meantime, you can print out a temporary emblem — make sure to print in color.

Airport placards (LAX, SFO, and OAK airports only)

When giving rides at LAX, SFO, and OAK airports, drivers are required to display an additional airport placard in their front windshield. For more information, click the links below:

LAX
SFO/OAK (same placard)
Additional California Airport Information

California Airports

Read up on information regarding all airports in California here.

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Get a Business license (San Francisco and San Jose only)

San Francisco

It’s something we tried hard to fight, but San Francisco drivers are required by the city to have a business license (called a Business Registration Certificate). If you drive for compensation seven or more days a year on San Francisco city streets, then you need to register for a business license with the city.

To complete the application and register for a business license in SF, follow the instructions below. If you have additional questions on any part, visit sftreasurer.org/newbizinstructions for more details.  

  1. Visit this page to register as a business in SF. Click “Continue” to start your application.
  2. Under the “Your Business” section, you’ll need to add a Business Name and select your organization type. Most drivers choose Sole Proprietorship and use their legal name as their Business Name.

    You’ll also add your Business Tax ID and SF Start Date.

    Heads up: The city may say you owe extra fees and late charges for driving in previous years. Do not pay the registration fee until you get a specific email from the Treasurer and Tax Collector removing the penalties and interest from your account balance.

  3. Under the Ownership Information section, fill out your personal information. Once you apply for a Business Registration Certificate, the City adds the business name, address, and certain other details to the SF OpenData website.

    This means that other than your SSN, any data you share — including your address — will be public information. Once you register, this information may also be shared with any San Francisco City and County tax-collecting entities.


  4. Next, fill out your Contact Information. This may be the same as your ownership information in the previous section. All tax information will be sent to this person at the associated address.
  5. Under the Location Information section, add your location details, start date, select applicable taxes and fees, and choose your business activities. Here’s more detail on each:
    • Location Trade Name: Typically, this is your Business Name (from Step 2 above), but it could be any other name used for your business.

    • Start Date in SF: The date business activity started at this San Francisco location. The city may say you owe extra fees and late charges for driving previous years. Do not pay the registration fee until you get a specific email from the Treasurer and Tax Collector removing the penalties and interest from your account balance.

    • Tax and Fees: Most drivers select “No” for each tax and fee, but review this handy page to confirm which ones apply to you.

    • Business Activities: Most drivers at least register as a Transportation Network Company Driver (17B). For more information about business activities codes, visit sftreasurer.org/NAICS.

  6. Next, you’ll be asked to complete the Registration section.
    • Estimated SF Payroll Expense is the rough amount of San Francisco payroll costs you expect during the current calendar year.
    • Estimated SF Gross Receipts doesn’t need to be an exact tally. If you drive in multiple counties, simply do your best to estimate San Francisco fares based on how often you’re in the city. For more information on gross receipts, visit sftreasurer.org/grossreceipts.

  7. Follow the “Next Steps” you receive via email to complete the business license application process.

Please keep in mind the above is not business or tax advice. For specific questions about applying for a business license or associated fees, contact the Office of the Treasurer & Tax Collector directly.

TNC Driver Business Registration FAQ

Why was I assessed penalties and interest?
Any business that does not register timely (within 30 days of starting business) is assessed penalties and interest. However, ongoing litigation regarding the employment status of TNC drivers has resulted in significant confusion about business registration requirements in San Francisco. Given this lack of clarity, SF is allowing drivers to register without penalty for prior periods if they take action before August 31st, 2016.

I already paid penalties and interest, will I get a refund?
Yes. You do not need to take further action. If you registered and said you were a TNC driver, you will receive a refund of any penalties and interest you were assessed within 30 days.

I registered but did not pay yet, what should I do?
Your balance owed will be adjusted to remove penalties and interest. You will have until August 31, 2016 to pay. You will receive an email with further instructions.

Why did I get a notice from the Office of the Treasurer?
The Office of the Treasurer and Tax Collector mailed 37,000 notices to people identified as drivers for Transportation Network Companies (TNC) in San Francisco, notifying them of business registration requirements.

You must register by August 31, 2016 to avoid paying penalties and interest. Register online, but do not pay the registration fee until you get a specific email from the Treasurer and Tax Collector removing the penalties and interest from your account balance.

I don’t see my question here?
For more specific questions about applying for a business license or associated fees, contact the Office of the Treasurer & Tax Collector directly.


San Jose Business Tax License

The City of San Jose requires independent contractors conducting business in San Jose to get a Business Tax Registration Certificate. More information about this requirement is available on the City's website at www.sanjoseca.gov.

If you conduct business in San Jose, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Complete a business tax application.
  2. Follow the instructions and submit your application and check by mail or in person.

    By mail:
    City of San José – Finance Department
    Attention: Payment Processing
    200 E. Santa Clara St.
    13th Floor
    San José, CA 95113

    In person:
    City of San José -
    Customer Service Window 1 or 2
    200 E. Santa Clara St.
    1st Floor
    San José, CA 95113

  3. Once you receive it, keep your business tax certificate in your glove compartment. You may need to present it to an officer if approached.

Hit the Road

You are an approved driver, your ride is decked out with all the right things in all the right places, and you’re no stranger to the ins and outs of driving with Lyft.


In-Person Support in San Francisco

Drivers in San Francisco are welcome to come to the Lyft Hub for in-person support.

2300 26th St.
San Francisco, CA 94107
Mon - Fri: 10 am - 5 pm

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California Information

Who makes the rules anyway?

In California, Lyft is regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).

Lyft Insurance

Effective July 1, 2015, California enacted State Bill AB 2293. Under this law Transportation Network Companies, including Lyft, are required to provide primary third-party liability insurance and maintain $200,000 of excess liability coverage during Period 1. Lyft’s third-party automobile liability policy will be your primary policy during Period 1. In addition, Lyft will maintain $200,000 of excess liability coverage during Period 1.

What's Period 1?

Period 1 begins when you log in to driver mode, and ends when you accept a ride request. Once you accept a ride, Period 2 begins — and once you pick up a passenger, Period 3 starts. Period 3 ends as soon as you end the ride. Then, you’re back in Period 1 until you accept another ride request or log out of driver mode.

Here's how you're covered:

CA Insurance

Under AB 2293, your personal automobile insurance policy, including any optional coverages you’ve purchased such as comprehensive and collision, won’t cover your rideshare driving in California unless you’ve also purchased rideshare coverage.

Some insurers offer insurance products designed specifically for rideshare drivers. These policies can cover both your personal and rideshare driving, and offer additional coverages. We always endeavor to keep drivers informed as new insurance products become available for rideshare drivers. We encourage you to reach out to your insurance agent/broker for the insurance that best fits your needs.

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Best Practices to Avoid Citations


Document and Inspection Renewals

Drivers on the Lyft platform are required to maintain current documents. Always update your documents via the Dashboard when they expire.

  • Personal vehicle insurance (expires annually)
  • Driver’s license (expires every 5 years)
  • Vehicle inspection (expires annually, or every 50k miles - whichever is sooner)
    Sample form
    Print the form
    1. Print this form.
    2. Bring your vehicle to any Pep Boys for a $17 inspection, or find a BAR-licensed facility (scroll down for instructions for finding a facility).
    3. Upload your completed inspection (see example above) in the Dashboard.

    Inspections typically cost around $20-30, but can vary depending on the facility. Lyft does not cover the cost of annual inspections, or inspections for existing drivers.

    Finding a BAR-Licensed Facility

    You can use the website below, visit any Pep Boys (who will do re-inspections for $17), or reference this map.

    1. Visit the BAR website.
    2. Enter your city and click Find.
    3. Choose a facility with a Valid status.

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Adding New Vehicle

You can add additional vehicles to your profile in the Dashboard. Make sure you follow the steps to get it inspected.

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Getting Reactivated if Your Vehicle Inspection Expired

The CPUC requires Lyft drivers in California to undergo an annual vehicle inspection. Failing to submit a new vehicle inspection before the expiration date results in temporary deactivation.

Follow the steps to get your vehicle inspected. We will reactivate your account shortly after you upload the completed form.

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