Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
- Taxis: Taxicabs are vehicles that transport people for compensation and accept multiple forms of payment, such as cash or credit card. 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." King County sets rates for fares, which are recorded by a taximeter. Taxicabs may use a dispatch system or service, online application or can be hailed from the street.
- 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. They accept multiple forms of payment, such as cash or credit card. The vehicles are painted more than one color and cannot be marked with any of the following words: "taxi," "cab," or "taxicab." For-hire vehicles may use a dispatch system or service, online application, or can be hailed from the street.
- Transportation Network Company (TNC) Vehicles: 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. Cash payment is not allowed and vehicles cannot be hailed from the street.
A "for-hire license" is issued to drivers who intend to only drive a taxi and/or for-hire vehicle.
Drivers who use a personal vehicle for a TNC need a "for-hire permit" and a vehicle endorsement. This permit can also be used to operate taxis and for-hire vehicles.
Please review the Application fees page.
To drive for multiple TNCs, you must apply with each company. However, you will only be issued one for-hire permit to drive for both companies.
All personal vehicles used for TNC operations need to be inspected by an approved mechanic. Please consult with your TNC.
If you have sold or replaced a vehicle, please notify your TNC. If you want to use the new vehicle to operate as a TNC driver, you must have your vehicle inspected and provide the updated registration to your TNC. Your TNC will provide the updated information to King County in order to obtain the vehicle endorsement (decal). The vehicle endorsement from your previous vehicle cannot be transferred to the new vehicle, you must get a new one.
First-time applicants are required to complete a for-hire training course and the Defensive Driving Course (DDC) Online, Ninth Edition offered by the National Safety Council (NSC) or a certified NSC instructor.
- For-Hire eTraining: King County eTraining Modules are available on the website and cover the following four (4) subject areas: Geography, Customer Service and Driver Safety, Customers with Disabilities, and Understanding the Regulatory Rules/Codes. This training is intended to help for-hire drivers prepare for and be aware of operating a for-hire vehicle in Seattle and King County and to prepare drivers to be successful in completing the for-hire examination. There is no fee for the eTraining. An applicant must take all four (4) training sessions in order to receive credit for the training requirement. The courses are self-paced and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- In-Person For-Hire Training: The in-person training is an optional course taught by two National Safety Council (NSC) certified instructors with transportation industry experience. This eight-hour class is split into two parts: Part I focuses on preparing for the for-hire examination; Part II is the Defensive Driving Course (DDC). A DDC certificate will be issued at the end of the class. A fee applies for this course. Completing the in-person training results in both the for-hire training and DDC requirement being met.
- DDC: The Defensive Driving Course (DDC Online Ninth Edition, English/Spanish), a four-hour online course provided by the National Safety Council, can be completed at any time during the application process. A certificate of completion will be mailed to you in three to five business days. Provide a copy or picture of the certificate of completion to King County. Please note: A temporary for-hire permit may be issued without this training, but the permanent license will not be issued until you complete this course. An applicant has 60 days from the date the application is submitted to present the certificate either in-person or via email. Failure to complete this requirement will result in deactivation. If the in-person training is taken (as noted above), the online DDC is not required.
If you are applying with a TNC that is providing the DDC course to you online, the TNC will provide DDC completion information to us as part of the for-hire permit application process.
If you are taking the DDC course as part of the in-person for-hire driver class, you will be provided a certificate at the end of the course.
If you are taking the DDC online course:
- Purchase the course online at www.nsc.org/buyonline (New Student)
- Select "Individual training myself or my family"
- Select the "DDC Online, 4 hour" course, English or Spanish
- Create a User Name and Password
- Enter your credit card information ONE TIME ONLY
- After your payment is successfully processed, you may begin the course IMMEDIATELY
- To begin the course at a later time or to continue where you left off, go to www.safetyserve.com/nscretails (Returning Student)
- Choose "Returning Student" and enter the User Name and Password you created
- A certificate will be mailed after you have completed and passed the course
- Please note, NSC will mail certificate to the name, as spelled, on the registration
- Please provide complete mailing address, including apartment number
- There is a $10 charge to reprint any certificate for which correct information was not provided to the NSC.