Located in sunny California’s capital city, Sacramento International Airport is one of the top growing mid-sized airports in North America. In 2018, SMF served 12 million passengers and set an all-time record of passenger growth. Not only is the airport actively growing, it’s also a central hub for hot tourist spots such as Napa Valley and more than 200 other wineries that are within a one-hour drive.
As an airport with steady growth, SMF is a great place to expand your rideshare business—and earnings. Uber and Lyft are allowed to operate at SMF, but before you head there, you’ll need to know some rules, regulations, and a few tips.
So, we’ve put together this guide to help you navigate picking up passengers, dropping off passengers, and everything in between. We’ll cover the following topics:
- What should you do before arriving at Sacramento International Airport?
- Do you need any permits to drive at Sacramento International Airport?
- Where is the rideshare waiting area at Sacramento International Airport?
- What are the passenger pick-up rules at Sacramento International Airport?
- What are the passenger drop-off rules at Sacramento International Airport?
- When is the best time to drive at Sacramento International Airport?
- What is the best Sacramento International Airport driving strategy?
Let’s dive in!
What should you do before arriving at Sacramento International Airport and entering the airport queue?
Before you get to SMF to pick up or drop off passengers, you’ll need to have your trade dress. This (as you know) is the Lyft or Uber decal that goes on the windshield of your vehicle.
Uber sends out this decal when drivers sign up. If you’ve lost yours since then, there are a few easy ways to replace it. You can request that a new one be mailed to you, pick one up at your local Greenlight Hub (be wary of recent Hub closures), or print out a temporary version at home.
Where is the Uber/Lyft waiting area at Sacramento International Airport?
There is one staging area for rideshare at SMF, and it’s located near the cell phone lot off Crossfield Drive. The staging area is organized as a first-in first queue for Uber and Lyft drivers. You will only be placed in the queue if you are in the staging area, and you can see where you are in the queue by checking your app(s).
Be sure not to exit the staging area or log out of driver mode in your app, or you’ll lose your spot in the queue. And if the staging area is full, you must leave the airport or face the possibility of citations.
What are the passenger pick-up rules at Sacramento International Airport?
In order to pick up a passenger, you have to be the driver who has waited for the longest time in the queue. When you receive a request, you can head through Lindbergh Drive to the airport to pick up your passenger.
There, you can pick up passengers from Terminal A, which is on the west curb at the northwest end of the terminal. The other pick-up location is at Terminal B, which is near the short-term parking lot and the west commercial curb.
What are the passenger drop-off rules at Sacramento International Airport?
Dropping off passengers at Sacramento International Airport is a breeze. Simply proceed to the departures level at the passenger’s carrier of choice.
After dropping your passenger off, make sure you don’t hang around the area or you could be fined.
When is the best time to drive at the Sacramento International Airport?
You can find airport arrival and departure information for SMF on the Gridwise app in the Airports tab.
It looks like a great time to pick up arriving passengers at SMF is in the afternoon starting around 2:00 pm. There seems to be a steady rate of departures during the afternoon as well.
What are some good airport strategies?
Pick up riders on your way to the airport!
If you’re already heading to the airport, adding another passenger to your trip is a great strategy to maximize your rideshare earnings. Hang around near hotels and other travel hotspots to watch for potential passengers.
Don’t cancel on passengers after you’ve accepted their fare
Doing this can cause you to be pushed to the bottom of the queue, which will make your wait time longer. If your rider cancels on you, don’t worry; you’ll keep your spot in the queue.
Always be prepared
As always, you never know when law enforcement will show up. Keep your driver’s license, insurance card, and registration handy, and don’t forget to have your placard displayed.
Congrats! Now you’re all set to make some pick-ups and drop-offs at Sacramento International Airport.