Taxis, for-hires, TNCs and limos: telling them apart

Learn the differences between Seattle taxis, for-hires, TNCs and limos so you know what to expect from each service.


In Seattle, taxis are painted one solid color: yellow, orange, green or white are common. Also, taxis:


For-hire vehicles are painted different colors than taxis – the vehicle body paint is two or more colors rather than one solid color. Also, for-hire vehicles:

  • can be hailed from the street
  • charge a flat rate per trip for an agreed-upon price
  • do not have a meter inside the vehicle
  • cannot have the words "taxi" or "cab" printed on the car

Transportation Network Companies (TNCs)

TNC drivers use their own personal vehicles to transport passengers for compensation. They are not specially marked and cannot be hailed from the street. Unlike taxis and for-hire vehicles, they connect with passengers only through an online application using a device such as a smartphone or tablet.


Limousines are for-hire luxury motor vehicles. Limos are commonly black four-door sedans, such as a town car. Some are multi-door stretch limos or SUVs. In Seattle limousines are:

  • unmarked luxury vehicles
  • do not have a meter inside the vehicle
  • cannot advertise that they provide taxi services