Taxis, For-Hires and Transportation Network Companies

The City Council and King County Council each adopted several ordinances in late 2023 with the combined effect of streamlining taxicab and for-hire vehicle regulations. This document provides an overview of major changes in the ordinances. Licensees will receive more information as staff implement the ordinances this year.

Dispatch agency license application for 2024
The new ordinances adopted by Seattle and King County automatically made existing taxicab associations and for-hire vehicle companies temporary regional dispatch agencies (TRDAs). To continue operating as a TRDA or, if a smart taximeter system has been approved for use, begin operating as a regional dispatch agency (RDA), the dispatch agency must apply for an annual license. The 2024 license application form is available here and more information about the application process is available here.

Temporary fuel surcharge for taxicab and for-hire vehicles
Director’s Rule R-6.310.530.I allows for a temporary $1 per trip surcharge when the average price of regular grade gas rises above $5 per gallon. When the fuel surcharge is in effect, the City will ask taxicab and for-hire vehicle operators to conspicuously post surcharge notices near the meter in each taxicab or the center of the dashboard in a for-hire vehicle. This surcharge does not apply to rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft.

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Taxis

Taxicabs are vehicles that transport people for compensation. The passenger controls the route or destination. The vehicles are painted one solid color and have signs or lettering that include the words taxi, cab or taxicab. The City sets rates for fares, which are recorded by a taximeter. Taxicabs may use a dispatch system or service, or taxicabs can be hailed from the street. Learn about taxicab operation.

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For-hire vehicles

For-hire vehicles also transport people for compensation, but are different from taxicabs because they charge a flat fee per trip, rather than a metered fare like a taxi. The vehicles are painted more than one color and cannot be marked with the words taxi, cab or taxicab. For-hire vehicles can be hailed from the street. Learn about for-hire vehicle operation.

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Transportation network companies (TNCs)

TNC vehicles transport people for compensation. Unlike taxicabs and for-hire vehicles, they connect with passengers only through an online application using a device such as a smartphone or tablet. Fares are set by the TNC and must be shown to passengers and paid through the online application. Learn more about TNCs.