Skip to main content
King County logo

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. Complete versions of each set of regulations are available online: King County Code Title 6.64 and Seattle Municipal Code Chapter 6.310 external link.

New Public Rule

The director of King County’s Department of Executive Services (DES), acting under the authority of King County Code chapter 2.98 and chapter 6.64, section 6.64.021 and section 6.64.760, adopted a rule concerning the authorization of a fuel surcharge for taxicabs beginning August 12, 2022.

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 2021 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. 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 were also frequently cited, as were vehicle age limits and airport fees or short trip 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 2021 and asked for reactions to specific policy proposals on topics like creating regional medallions and transitioning all for-hire vehicles to taxicabs. Most participants support moving to a regional medallion system, transitioning all for-hire vehicles to taxicabs, adopting smart taximeters and allowing flexible rates. Participants want the City and County to relax insurance requirements to try to increase the number of insurers serving the market.


Where we're going: actions

Based on the feedback heard, the City and County is taking 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 in Spring 2022.
  • 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.
In April 2021, the City announced it would not enforce the City's taxi and for-hire vehicle 10-year age limit through June 30, 2022, which is the end of the medallion year. In consideration of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts on the for-hire industry, the County and City will temporarily suspend enforcement of the 10-year vehicle age limit on taxis, for-hire vehicles, and TNC vehicles. Enforcement of those limits will resume when the taxi or for-hire vehicle medallion or TNC vehicle endorsement is renewed in 2023. This requirement does not apply if the vehicle is a taxicab or for-hire vehicle with a King County-only medallion. Please note that the annual vehicle safety inspection requirement remains in effect during this time.
Taximeters (LIC-8-4-PR): guidance for testing and approving taximeters, including smart taximeters, and authorizes taxis to vary fares from those established in SMC 6.310.530 and KCC 6.64.760 when using the application dispatch system (ADS) function of a smart taximeter system.
Application Dispatch Systems (LIC-8-5-PR): updated requirements for using an application dispatch system (ADS) and recognition of the ADS function within a smart taximeter system.
Temporary Changes to Insurance Requirements for Taxicabs and For-Hire Vehicles (LIC-8-6-PR): temporary changes to insurance requirements with the goal of increasing cost-effective insurance options for taxicab and flat-rate/for-hire vehicle owners.

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.

206-263-1982

TTY Relay 711

8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Monday thru Friday