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King County is responsible for approving taxi, for-hire, and TNC companies and drivers who wish to operate in the following areas: King County, Port of Seattle including Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (requires additional Port of Seattle authorization) and within the city limits of Auburn, Bellevue, Burien, Covington, Enumclaw, Federal Way, Issaquah, Kenmore, Kent, Kirkland, Maple Valley, Redmond, Renton, Sammamish, SeaTac, Seattle, and Shoreline.

King County and the City of Seattle partner to regulate the for-hire industry under the terms of an interlocal agreement whereby King County manages all for-hire driver licensing functions for both jurisdictions and Seattle manages all for-hire vehicle licensing functions for both jurisdictions. Regulations across the two jurisdictions vary slightly and complete versions of each set of regulations are available:

Annual reports

Notice of Proposed Public Rules

King County and the City of Seattle continue to help the for-hire industry successfully emerge from the COVID pandemic. This has meant reducing regulatory fees (done earlier this year) and giving more regulatory flexibility to owners and drivers. Next, the County and City propose to adopt three rules: All interested persons are invited to present data, questions or comments regarding the draft rules. Use this form to email comments to FAST@kingcounty.gov no later than 5 p.m. on Oct. 4, 2021.

Policy and fee changes

King County and the City of Seattle are working together to revise for-hire transportation regulations. In late 2017 and early 2018, we met with many medallion owners, taxi associations, for-hire companies, and several other stakeholders to gather your input on how we can best work with the for-hire transportation industry. Based on those conversations, we are proposing some policy changes. Throughout the first few months of 2021, we reached out to taxi and for-hire vehicle drivers, medallion owners, taxi associations and for-hire companies and other stakeholders through surveys, small in-person conversations, and virtual meetings to listen to your thoughts.

The information below is also available in Amharic, Oromo, Punjabi, Somali, and Tigrinya.


What we heard: surveys

We hosted a survey in February and asked medallion owners and drivers to tell us the problems they face working in for-hire transportation and the changes they would like to see. Here's what we heard:

  • Most respondents have been a taxicab or for-hire driver for more than 5 years, drive full-time as their primary source of income and do not drive for any other service.
  • The cost of insurance was the number one challenge cited, followed closely by the cost of regulatory fees.
  • Differences in regulations between TNCs and taxicabs and for-hire vehicles, particularly about rates, were also frequently cited as contributors to a lack of business and revenue for taxicab and for-hire vehicles.
  • Some survey respondents also mentioned vehicle age limits and airport fees or short trips as challenges.

In addition to the survey, we met with taxicab associations, for-hire vehicle companies and trade groups to discuss industry challenges and proposed regulatory changes. Themes from these meetings largely mirror the survey responses.


What we heard: focus groups

We hosted five focus groups with medallion owners and drivers in March and asked for reactions to specific policy proposals on topics like creating regional medallions and transitioning all for-hire vehicles to taxicabs. Here's what we heard:

  • Most participants support moving to a regional medallion system, transitioning all for-hire vehicles to taxicabs, adopting smart taximeters and allowing flexible rates. Some participants expressed concerns over appropriately compensating current Dual medallion owners if all medallions become Dual.
  • Participants want the City and County to relax insurance requirements to try to increase the number of insurers serving the market. Few insurance options mean higher rates.
  • Medallion owners and drivers need immediate relief, such as reduced or waived regulatory fees or other financial assistance as the industry continues to struggle during the COVID pandemic.

Where we're going: plans

Based on the feedback heard, the City and County will take the following actions:

  • Propose legislation to implement regional medallions, transition all for-hire vehicles to taxicabs, adopt smart taximeters, adjust insurance requirements and make other changes intended to ease and streamline regulations. We expect to transmit legislation to the City Council and County Council by the end of 2021.
  • Provide immediate relief through reduced fees for the upcoming licensing year and suspending enforcement of the 10-year vehicle age limit until June 30, 2022. The details of this immediate relief package are shown below.

In response to the pandemic's effect on the for-hire transportation industry, the County is taking action to provide immediate relief for licensees and to reduce barriers to re-starting for-hire transportation service. The County is reducing fees assessed to licensees under King County Code (KCC) 6.64.026 and KCC 4A.750.100(B) beginning May 10, 2021. The new fees:
  • Reduce the annual medallion (license) fee from $200 to $100,
  • Reduce the change of vehicle medallion owner (licensee) July - December fee from $200 to $100,
  • Reduce the change of vehicle medallion owner (licensee) January - June (half year) fee from $100 to $50,
  • Reduce the taxicab association and for-hire company annual fee
    • One to fifteen vehicles - from $125 to $65,
    • Sixteen to twenty-five vehicles - from $250 to $125,
    • Twenty-six or more vehicles - from $500 to $250, and
  • Reduce the for-hire driver's annual license fee from $44 to $24.
The proposed fee changes were available for comment through April 29, 2021 and the final notice applies to licensing fees beginning May 10, 2021.
The City of Seattle has issued a proposed rule (FOR-HIRE-TRANSPORTATION-2021-02) to reduce the City's medallion and related fees for the 2022 medallion year (beginning July 1, 2021 and ending June 30, 2022). The proposed rule would:
  • Reduce the annual medallion (license) fee from $500 to $300,
  • Reduce the late fee (medallion (license) renewal) from $60 to $30,
  • Reduce the change of vehicle medallion owner (licensee) July - December fee from $500 to $300,
  • Reduce the change of vehicle medallion owner (licensee) January - June (half year) fee from $250 to $150,
  • Reduce the taxicab association annual fee from $1,000 to $100, and
  • Reduce the for-hire driver's annual license fee from $50 to $25.
The proposed fee changes were available for comment through April 23, 2021 and the final notice is now available.
The City of Seattle has issued a proposed rule (FOR-HIRE-TRANSPORTATION-2021-03) to reduce the annual estimated Wheelchair Accessible Services (WAS) surcharge by 80 percent for the period beginning April 1, 2020 (paid during the medallion renewal process for the 2022 licensing year, beginning July 1, 2021), reflecting the steep decline in the number of trips provided over the last year. The proposed rule would:
  • Reduce the estimated WAS Surcharge for City-only and dual (City and County) taxi medallions from $145 to $29 per year, and
  • Reduce the estimated WAS Surcharge for County-only taxi medallions and all for-hire vehicle medallions from $85 to $17 per year.
The proposed fee changes were available for comment through April 23, 2021 and the final notice is now available.
The City of Seattle will not enforce the City's taxi and for-hire 10-year vehicle age limit through June 30, 2022, which is the end of the 2022 medallion year. The taxi and for-hire industry has been hit hard by the COVID-related shutdown, and as a result vehicles logged fewer miles than normal years. Allowing vehicles to operate for an additional year allows the industry time to recover prior to investing in newer vehicles. Beginning July 1, 2022, all vehicles with City of Seattle medallions must be model year 2012 or newer in order to operate.

We want to hear from you! If you have questions or feedback, please email our For-Hire and Shared Transportation team at FAST@kingcounty.gov.

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