Taxi Vehicle Owners

The City of Seattle passed an ordinance in 2014 regulating the ownership of taxicabs. Key provisions of the ordinance that apply to owners and licensees of taxis are:

  • Taxicabs owned or represented by an association must use the same color scheme, trade name and dispatch services.
  • Taxicabs must be less than 10 years old and they must be equipped with a monitored silent alarm system and a monitored global positioning system.

Vehicle Licensing

To renew your vehicle medallion, you must submit all necessary forms and documents and pay the required fees. Your taxi association should provide you with these forms. Renew your Seattle taxicab vehicle medallion during the open period for renewals, from May 1 through June 30 each year. Vehicle medallions expire on June 30 each year.

All vehicle medallion renewals require:

Additional forms may be required if you are operating as a corporation or limited liability company (LLC), or if you are filing for a vehicle change or change of owner. Contact us if this is the case for you.

Vehicle Lease

Vehicle lease summary form.

Medallions

See the medallions page for information.

Registered owners of taxicabs and for-hire vehicles must maintain commercial insurance coverage with the following levels of coverage:

  • Bodily injury limits of at least $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident.
  • At least $25,000 for property damage.
  • Uninsured motorist insurance of at least $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident. 

Policies must name the City of Seattle as an additional insured. The registered owners of vehicles must file evidence of insurance with the Director of the Department of Finance and Administrative Services. Taxicab associations and for-hire vehicle companies may purchase and file such evidence on behalf of drivers.

Taxi and for-hire vehicle drivers must keep proof of commercial insurance in their vehicles while operating them.

All for-hire vehicles, transportation network company vehicles and taxicabs must undergo a uniform vehicle safety inspection before they can be used to provide services. This inspection covers all major components of the vehicle, as well as vehicle features that aid the driver and keep the passenger comfortable. Inspections certify that the vehicle is mechanically sound and fit for driving and will note that all plates, decals and notices required and supplied by the City are legible and properly displayed. The inspection must be done by a mechanic approved by the Director of the Department of Finance and Administrative Services. See the list of City-approved vehicle safety inspection mechanics.

It is the responsibility of the for-hire company, TNC or taxicab association to require that vehicles pass inspection and to maintain records of vehicle inspections.

All drivers and vehicle owners must consent to criminal background checks. Transportation network companies, for-hire vehicle companies and taxicab associations must review the background checks and maintain records of them.

The background checks may be conducted by fingerprinting the driver, with prints forwarded to the FBI or Washington State Patrol for investigation. They may also be conducted by a third-party vendor approved by the Director of the Department of Finance and Administrative Services.

Companies also must report criminal offenses by drivers that have bearing on the driver's fitness to operate a taxicab, transportation network company vehicle or for-hire vehicle. These criminal offenses include but are not limited to:

  • Fraud
  • Theft
  • Robbery
  • Burglary
  • Assault
  • Sex crimes
  • Alcohol or drug offenses
  • Prostitution