Free Floating Car Share Conditions of Use


A robust car share program provides the opportunity to reduce parking demand, vehicles miles traveled, and enhance mobility options, while also balancing the needs of other uses in the Right of Way.

This permit is granted by The City of Seattle ("City"), a Washington municipal corporation, through its Department of Transportation ("SDOT"), as represented by the Director thereof; to the Operator ("Qualified Car Share Operator" or "Permit Holder") (collectively the "Parties").

The purpose of this Permit is to set forth the conditions associated with the Permit Holder's use and occupancy of the City rights-of-way through Seattle's car sharing program. The car sharing program allows vehicles as part of a car sharing organization to park in designated, signed spaces previously agreed upon by the City. The free-floating car sharing program, a subset of the car sharing program, allows car sharing organizations to park vehicles in most types of on-street spaces. 

Section 1.0: Definitions

Car sharing (Seattle Municipal Code 11.14.087): "Car sharing" is a system in which a fleet of cars (or other vehicles) is made available for use by members of the car share group in a wide variety of ways. Car sharing provides an alternative to car ownership under which a) persons or entities that become members are permitted to use vehicles from a fleet on an hourly basis; b) vehicles are available to members in parking spaces at dispersed locations or facilities; and c) no separate written agreement is required each time a member reserves and uses a vehicle. 

Car sharing service area: "Car sharing service area" is the portion of the city reasonably served by car sharing vehicles per SDOT's approval. 

Free floating car sharing (11.14.237): "Free-floating car sharing" means a system in which a fleet of vehicles is made available for use by members of a free-floating car sharing organization whereby: a) persons or entities that become members are permitted to use free-floating car sharing vehicles from the fleet on a limited, fee-per-use basis; b) free-floating car sharing vehicles may be parked in any on-street parking space within the free-floating zone pursuant to meeting the standards and restrictions set forth in Title 11 of the Seattle Municipal Code including Section 11.23.160; and c) a separate written agreement is not required each time a member reserves or uses a vehicle from the fleet.

Free floating zone (11.14.237): "Free-floating zone" or FFZ means a geographic area with a delineated boundary in which a free-floating car sharing vehicle may be parked.

Designated car share vehicle zone (SMC 11.14.089): "Car sharing vehicle zone" means a portion of a street or alley designated by a sign or other traffic control devices that is reserved for the exclusive use of car sharing vehicles.

Qualified Car Share Operator: "Qualified Car Share Operator" is a car share operator that meets the criteria established by the Seattle Department of Transportation and is therefore eligible to apply for parking permits for the public right-of-way. Operators must seek and be granted explicit operational authority by the City of Seattle in order to be deemed a Qualified Car Share Operator. For the purposes of this permit, may be referenced as "QCSO."

Application Programming Interface (API): Application programming interface that provides developers with programmatic access to a proprietary software application.

Transportation Demand Management: The application of strategies and policies to reduce travel demand, or to redistribute this demand in space or in time. 

Section 2.0: Term of Agreement

Designated car sharing spaces will be permitted in the Right-of-Way through the calendar year of the date of issuance. Issued permits may be revoked or terminated as set forth by section 3.1 below.  

Section 3.0: Permit Conditions

3.1 Removal for cause. The permission granted is subject to use of the street right-of-way or other public place (collectively, "public place") by the City and the public for travel, utility purposes, and other public uses or benefits. The City expressly reserves the right to deny renewal, revoke permits for individual spaces, or terminate the permission at any time prior to expiration of the initial term or any renewal term, and require the Permit Holder to pay any outstanding usage fees, in the following circumstances:  

a. The City Council determines by ordinance to terminate the authority for car sharing and/or to substantially amend the associated authority or regulations associated with car sharing; or 

b. The Director determines that any term or condition of the permit has been violated, and the violation has not been corrected by the Permit Holder by the compliance date after a written request by the City to correct the violation; or 

c. The Director determines that use of the public right of way is necessary for other purposes, including, but not limited to, meeting mobility or safety needs.

3.2 Permit Fee. The Permit Holder shall pay permit fees at the beginning of the year or the beginning of when they begin service, according to the following schedule: 

    • $1,200 for each designated on-street space in paid areas 
    • $300 for each designated on-street space in unpaid areas 
    • $300 for each free-floating vehicle 

All fees are prorated to the month when they become active.

Each quarter, the City will produce a report showing all trips taken by engine type (electric or non-electric) and each free-floating car share operator, after review, shall submit payment accordingly: 

    • 50 cents per Trip for combustion or hybrid engine vehicles 
    • 25 cents per Trip for electric vehicles 

For purposes of payment above, "Trip" means a trip beginning or ending in the city of Seattle. A Trip begins when a user unlocks a car, and the Trip ends when a user releases the car for use by others. A trip may include unlimited engine starts and stops, but excludes canceled trips, trips where the distance was 0 miles, trips where the duration was less or equal to 30 seconds, or where a trip was completed by fleet maintenance services personnel. 

The City will provide the trip report by the end of the month following the quarter. Report due dates are: 

    • April 30 
    • July 31 
    • October 31 
    • January 31 of the following year 

3.3 Refunds. Refunds will not be issued for free-floating car share vehicles that are removed from service before the end of the term of the permit. For any dedicated on-street spaces that are removed from service, the SDOT may offer a partial refund, prorated to the month when the spaces are removed from service. 

3.4 Compliance with other laws. Permit Holder shall operate and utilize on-street parking within City rights-of-way in compliance with all other applicable federal, state, County and City laws and regulations. 

3.5 City of Seattle parking violations. Permit Holder must demonstrate to SDOT that parking and traffic camera violations have either been paid by the Permit Holder or transferred to the driver for payment. SDOT and/or the City may also request evidence of payment of parking violations at any time. 

3.6 Vendor communication and vehicle identification.  

a. The Permit Holder shall display local contact information, such as phone number, on each car sharing vehicle on a publicly visible section of the vehicle. 

i. A local or toll-free telephone number that connects to a live person and/or allows the caller to leave a message

ii. A contact number capable of receiving and responding to text messages

iii. An email address 

b. The Permit Holder shall display local contact information, such as phone number, on each car sharing vehicle on a publicly visible section of the vehicle. 

c. In designated car sharing spaces, the Permit Holder shall affix its company logo to each car sharing vehicle parked in a designated car share vehicle zone on a publicly visible section of each vehicle to clearly identify the vehicle as a car sharing vehicle authorized to participate in the car sharing program.  

3.7 Car sharing service area. The Permit Holder shall provide a map to SDOT showing their service area and any planned service areas. Any new service areas shall be approved by SDOT in writing before they go into effect.  Any new planned service areas shall reasonably address high-density neighborhoods or other expected use cases, which may include:  

a. Service in or near the equity areas shown in the map below. 

b. Service around high-capacity transit (Link Light Rail) areas. 

c. Service in areas with multi-family housing and mixed-use neighborhoods 

d. Parks or other recreation or special event areas. 

Map of Car Share Equity Areas

3.8 Reporting Requirements.

a. Annual Report. The Permit Holder shall provide information to SDOT annually regarding their fleet, membership (including demographics) and on- and off-street parking locations. The annual report is due to SDOT January 31 of the following year. The report will include the following summary data, if applicable to the Permit Holder's service model, in a format specified by SDOT:  

i. Size of fleet, including number by engine type (electric, hybrid, combustion, etc.) and any plans for increasing the percentage of fleet that is electric.

ii. Map showing location of on- and off-street designated spaces.

iii. Map showing free-floating service area, and any changes over the course of the year.

iv. Total number of members.

v. Geographical distribution of membership by zip code.  

vi. Total parking time by paid area, in RPZs, and in all other (unrestricted) parking areas by month.

vii. Average number of trips per vehicle per day by month.

viii. Dwell time in designated car sharing spaces by month.

ix. Average number of vehicle uses per day of designated car sharing spaces by month.

x. Given the 10% goal for vehicle availability in the equity focus areas (map above), the Operator's vehicle availability in equity areas. 

xi. Documentation of the existence of programs serving low-income households, and summary information about participation. 

b. Annual Membership Survey. The Permit Holder shall be responsible for conducting an annual membership survey during the first two months of each permit year. The annual survey must be consistent with the instrument developed by and provided by SDOT. Survey shall include questions on demographic data including, at a minimum: race/ethnicity, household income, gender, and age. SDOT shall approve the survey instrument prior to implementation. If the Permit Holder wishes to use a third party to administer the survey, SDOT must approve the survey firm in advance. Summary results of the annual survey shall be submitted to SDOT by May 1 of each survey year.  

c. Operations and Equity report. The Permit holder shall report on its implementation of the elements described in section 3.10. 

3.9 Application programming interface (API)

a. The Permit Holder shall collect and share operational data with SDOT through APIs that are defined by the Mobility Data Specification (MDS) "Provider" specification, including the following APIs or endpoints: 

i. Trips

ii. Status changes

iii. A real-time feed

b. The Permit Holder shall maintain compliance with the most current published version of MDS, including the addition of any new APIs or fields not listed in these permit requirements, unless the Program Manager provides a written exception. 

c. If the Permit Holder is found not to be in compliance with the API, SDOT will provide notice and the Permit Holder will have 30 days to provide a fix. 

3.10 Operations Plan

a. The Permit Holder shall develop and communicate to SDOT an annual operations plan within 90 days of permit issuance. If no changes to the operations plan in second and subsequent years of operation, operator may submit an email notification to SDOT by end of first quarter of permit year indicating no change.  

b. The operations component of the Permit Holder's plan shall describe how the Permit Holder's business operates, as well as how the Permit Holder will convey this information to prospective users and non-users: 

i. The Permit Holder's service model, including how vehicles will be geographically distributed. 

ii. The types of vehicles the Permit Holder offers.

iii. The fueling methods the Permit Holder uses.

iv. The pricing policies and/or membership structures the Permit Holder offers, including information about how these may be affordable for potential users with lower incomes. 

v. The use of user incentives, disincentives, rewards, or penalties to shape user behavior.

vi. Customer service practices and methods.

vii. All rental methods, including low-barrier methods.

viii. The Permit Holder's plan to provide language support (e.g. translated marketing materials) for customers who use languages other than English. 

ix. Any events or programs the Permit Holder plans to attend for marketing or outreach purposes. 

c. The Permit Holder shall provide a report describing its completion of the above operations elements. The report shall be provided to SDOT by January 31 of the year following the permit cycle, as part of operator's annual report to the city. Report should detail both Permit Holder's actions and data about participation. 

3.11 Fares and Rental Operations

a. Before a user rents a vehicle, the Permit Holder shall disclose to the user its pricing structure, including all rates, fees, surcharges, penalties, and other costs the user may incur by renting the device. 

3.12 Fleet Reductions

a. If the Permit Holder plans to reduce its fleet size by 25% or more of the permitted total at the beginning of the annual permit cycle, the Permit Holder shall provide notice as follows:

      • Notification to SDOT a minimum of 60 days in advance of the anticipated concluding date of the reduction; and
      • Notification to all local members a minimum of 45 days in advance of the anticipated concluding date of the reduction.

b. If the Permit Holder reduces its free-floating size within a permit year, SDOT will not offer refunds, partial or full, for the free-floating car share permit fee.

3.13 Mobile Application. Mobile applications shall offer identical functionality across operating systems, and maintain appropriate data security for users.

Mobile applications shall be compatible with screen readers and other assistive technologies. Permit Holder shall format the application to be translatable into Seattle's Tier 1 languages, including Cantonese (Traditional Chinese), Korean, Mandarin, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese. If the Permit Holder is unable to comply with this condition for technical reasons, the Permit Holder shall detail to SDOT the reasons they cannot comply, along with any plan to be able to come into compliance by the next permit term. 

3.14 Advertising. The Permit Holder shall not advertise nor publish SDOT or the City of Seattle's participation in or endorsement of the car sharing program in marketing or promotional materials without SDOT's prior written consent. 

3.15 Local Presence. The Permit Holder shall maintain a local presence in Seattle and shall be responsive to requests, whether in response to individual complaints to the Permit Holder or SDOT, or for other purposes.

3.16 Indemnification. The Permit Holder agrees to defend, indemnify, and hold harmless the City of Seattle, its officials, officers, employees, and agents against: (1) any liability, claims, causes of action, judgments, or expenses, including reasonable attorney fees, resulting directly or indirectly from any act or omission of the Permit Holder, its subcontractors, anyone directly or indirectly employed by them, and anyone for whose acts or omissions they may be liable, arising out of the Permit Holder's use or occupancy of the public right-of-way; and (2) all loss by the failure of the Permit Holder to fully or adequately perform, in any respect, all authorizations or obligations under the Permit. 

3.17 Severance of terms and compliance with applicable law. The Permit Holder shall comply with all applicable laws, regulations, and rules. If any term or provision of this Permit is held to be invalid or illegal, such term or provision shall not affect the validity or enforceability of the remaining terms and provisions of this Permit. Meeting the terms of this Permit shall not excuse any failure to comply with all applicable laws, regulations, and rules, whether or not these laws and regulations are specifically listed in this Permit. 

3.18 Non-transferability. This permit may not be transferred to another party or entity.

3.19 Enforcement. SDOT will notify the enforcement agencies in its jurisdiction to not cite the Permit Holder's vehicles displaying the proper permit decals while in designated car sharing spaces or designated car share vehicle zones or in on-street areas consistent with SMC 11.23.160: Free-floating car sharing parking.  

Section 4.0: Explanation payment of permit fees

4.1 Use and occupancy of the street.

The Permit Holder shall pay SDOT fees as stated in Section 3.2.

This permit fee does not include vehicle registration fees. This payment covers the cost of installing and maintaining signage, paid parking revenue, restricted parking zone privileges, and administration of the program.

4.2 Payment. The Permit Holder shall make full payment prior to January 1 of the following year for continued use of existing designated car sharing spaces and/or for free-floating vehicle permits. For new designated care sharing vehicle ones, the Permit Holder shall make full payment prior to installation of new signage.

Section 5.0: Effective Date, Renewals, Modification

5.1 The Permit shall be effective on the date of issuance through the end of the calendar year. New zones established mid-year by an existing Permit Holder shall be subject to the signed permit conditions for that calendar year. Unless otherwise noted, renewals shall be effective on the day following the last day of effectiveness of the previous Permit. 

5.2. No amendment, alteration, or modification to this Permit shall be effective unless agreed to in writing by both SDOT and the Permit Holder. 

Section 6.0: Termination

SDOT reserves the right to terminate the Permit for failure to meet any of the requirements contained herein upon written notice to the Permit Holder and after providing the Permit Holder a thirty (30) day period to resolve any deficiencies.  If the Permit and Terms and Conditions are terminated on or before the effective date of the termination provided in the written notice, the Permit Holder shall be refunded any amount the Permit Holder paid that pertains to the period of time beyond the effective date of the termination provided in the written notice.  

Section 7.0: Contact Persons:

All official notices under this Permit shall be delivered to the following addresses (or such other address(es) as either party may designate in writing): 

City of Seattle:

Contact: Becky Edmonds

Mailing Address: Seattle Department of Transportation PO Box 34996 Seattle, WA 98124-4996

Physical Address: 700 5th Avenue, Suite 3800

Phone: (206) 684-5104



Greg Spotts, Director
Address: 700 5th Ave, Suite 3800, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 34996, Seattle, WA, 98124-4996
Phone: (206) 684-7623

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The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is on a mission to deliver a transportation system that provides safe and affordable access to places and opportunities for everyone as we work to achieve our vision of Seattle as a thriving, equitable community powered by dependable transportation.