Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles

What owners and drivers need to know

The City of Seattle and King County each created a Wheelchair Accessible Services (WAS) Fund to support the continued viability of wheelchair accessible for-hire transportation service for passengers throughout the City and County.  Refer to SMC 6.310.175 and KCC 6.64.111 for more information.

The purpose of the WAS Fund is to offset the higher operational costs of providing wheelchair accessible for-hire transportation for wheelchair accessible vehicle (WAV) owners and drivers.  WAV owners and drivers may be eligible to receive reimbursements for trips provided to passengers in wheelchairs, shifts operated in a WAV, additional WAV-specific training, and costs associated with acquiring and maintaining a WAV. 

Reimbursements from the WAS Fund are governed by a joint City-County rule (FOR-HIRE-TRANSPORTATION-04-2020/ FIN-10-3-2-PR).  For a summary of the various WAS Fund reimbursement types and eligibility requirements, refer to the WAS Fund Reimbursement Summary Table

Annual Reports - WAS Fund Reimbursements

Reimbursements from the Wheelchair Accessible Services Fund are listed in the following reports:


Data on wheelchair accessible taxicab (WAT) owners and drivers who receive reimbursements from the Wheelchair Accessible Services Fund is also available for each year.

Reimbursement Request Forms

Frequently Asked Questions

A WAV refers to a taxicab, for-hire vehicle, or TNC-endorsed vehicle that has been designed or modified to transport passengers in wheelchairs.  The term includes both:

  • Wheelchair Accessible Taxicabs (WATs): a taxicab that is required to be accessible to passengers in wheelchairs as a condition of its City and/or County medallion; and
  • Voluntary Conversions: a taxicab, for-hire vehicle, or TNC-endorsed vehicle that is not required to be accessible to passengers in wheelchairs as a condition of the vehicle's medallion or endorsement, but whose owner voluntarily chooses to be wheelchair accessible.

Your vehicle must meet certain requirements to operate as a WAV:
  • WAVs must conform to the vehicle accessibility requirements of the Americans with Disability Act (ADA). ADA vehicle accessibility requirements are established in Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations Chapter 38, Subpart B.  The vehicle must be inspected for compliance with the ADA prior to being placed into service and annually thereafter.  Refer to the WAV Inspection Checklist to learn more about required WAV vehicle specifications. 
  • WAVs licensed by the City and all TNC-endorsed WAVs cannot exceed 10 years of age based on model year. This vehicle age limit applies to taxis and for-hire vehicles with a City medallion (including those with a City medallion only and those with both a City medallion and a County medallion); and all TNC-endorsed vehicles (including those authorized to operate in the City, the County, or both).

Any driver who operates a WAV must meet the following requirements:
  • The driver must hold a current for-hire driver's license/permit with a valid WAT endorsement. To obtain a WAT endorsement, drivers must complete the training described in SMC 6.310.414.E and KCC 6.64.570.D and submit documentation to the King County Records and Licensing (RALS) Division - For-Hire Licensing Office.
  • While operating a WAV, the driver must prioritize service to passengers in wheelchairs before any other passenger.

WATs (i.e. taxicabs that are required to be wheelchair accessible as a condition of their medallion) are automatically eligible to access WAS Fund reimbursements, as long as they meet the minimum operating requirements associated with each reimbursement type. 

For more information about the minimum operating requirements for each reimbursement type, refer to the joint City-County rule (FOR-HIRE-TRANSPORTATION-04-2020/ FIN-10-3-2-PR) and the WAS Fund Reimbursement Summary Table.

Voluntary Conversions (i.e. WAVs that are not required to be wheelchair accessible as a condition of their medallion or endorsement, but whose owners voluntarily choose to become wheelchair accessible) must apply for approval in order to become eligible to access WAS Fund reimbursements.

  • For more information on how to apply for WAS Fund eligibility, see the "Considering Voluntary Conversion?" section of this webpage.
  • Once approved as WAS Fund eligible, voluntarily converted WAVs must meet the minimum operating requirements for each reimbursement type to receive reimbursements.
  • Please note that taxis and for-hire vehicles with a County medallion only that exceed 10 years of age based on model year are not eligible for the maintenance and equipment reimbursement.
  • Voluntarily converted WAVs are not eligible for the vehicle acquisition reimbursement.

Please reach out to us first, before you acquire a WAV or convert an existing vehicle.  You can reach us by email at consumerprotection@seattle.gov or by phone at 206-386-1267.

To learn more about the various requirements and to determine whether owning and operating a WAV is right for you, refer to Choosing to Operate a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle -Things to Know Before You Convert.

To learn more about how to apply for WAS Fund eligibility as a Voluntary Conversion, refer to Choosing to Operate a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle - How to Apply for WAS Fund Eligibility.

The annual taxicab and for-hire vehicle medallion fee is waived for Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAVs), consistent with SMC 6.310.150.A and KCC 4A.750.100.A.1.

To be eligible for a medallion fee waiver, the vehicle associated with the medallion:

  • Must be operating as a WAV at the time the vehicle medallion is renewed. Voluntarily converting to a WAV at any point during the current licensing period does not entitle the medallion holder to a full or partial refund of the annual medallion fee.
  • Must operate as a WAV for the entire licensing period. If the owner of a voluntarily converted WAV chooses to revert to a non-accessible taxicab or for-hire vehicle at any point during the current licensing period, the fee waiver will be revoked. The vehicle owner will not be permitted to complete the change-of-vehicle process until the annual medallion fee has been paid.

Is a moratorium currently in effect on approving additional voluntarily converted WAVs as eligible for WAS Fund reimbursement? 

  • No, a moratorium is not in effect at this time.

What does it mean when a moratorium is in effect?

  • When a moratorium is in effect, no additional voluntarily converted WAVs will be approved as eligible to receive reimbursements from the WAS Fund. 

If I am already approved as eligible to receive WAS Fund reimbursements, will a moratorium impact my reimbursements?

  • No. WATs and voluntarily converted WAVs that were previously approved as eligible will continue to receive reimbursements from the WAS Fund while the moratorium remains effect.

What is the purpose of imposing a moratorium?

  • A moratorium may be imposed to ensure that number of WAVs eligible to receive WAS Fund reimbursements does not exceed the capacity of the WAS Fund.  A moratorium may also be imposed to prevent the supply of WAVs from exceeding demand for accessible service.
  • For more information on the conditions under which a moratorium may be imposed, see section III.A.2.c of the joint City-County rule (FOR-HIRE-TRANSPORTATION-04-2020/ FIN-10-3-2-PR).