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A wheelchair accessible vehicle (WAV) refers to a taxicab, for-hire vehicle, or transportation network company (TNC) endorsed vehicle that has been designed or modified to transport passengers in wheelchairs. WAVs include both:

  • Wheelchair Accessible Taxicabs (WATs) that are required to be accessible to passengers in wheelchairs as a condition of its medallion; and
  • Voluntary conversions that are not required to be accessible to passengers in wheelchairs as a condition of its medallion or endorsement, but whose owner voluntarily chooses to be wheelchair accessible.

WAT license holders are required to meet higher driver safety requirements than regular taxis to serve passengers with mobility devices. The driver must provide certification of WAT training to have the WAT endorsement added to their for-hire driver license and their vehicle must pass a wheelchair accessible service inspection. While operating a WAV, the driver must prioritize service to passengers with mobility devices before any other passenger.

Each taxi, for-hire vehicle, and TNC pays a wheelchair accessible services surcharge for all rides, which the County and City of Seattle use to help offset the higher operational costs incurred by owners and operators of WATs through reimbursements from the Wheelchair Accessible Services (WAS) Fund.

The City of Seattle's WAV website provides additional detailed information, including WAS Fund annual reports, types of reimbursements, and WAV vehicle requirements. You may also refer to King County Code 6.64.111 and Seattle Municipal Code 6.310.175 for more information.

WAS Fund Reimbursements

WAV owners and drivers may be eligible to receive reimbursements, as governed by a joint County-City rule, for trips provided to passengers in wheelchairs, shifts operated in a WAV, additional WAV-specific training, and costs associated with acquiring and maintaining a WAV.

WAT Request for Proposals

King County and the City of Seattle conducted a request for proposal (RFP) process to award 25 new dual wheelchair accessible taxis (WAT) medallion, accepting applications through February 21, 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic struck while the RFP process was ongoing and significantly reduced the demand for for-hire transportation. Given the circumstances, the RFP has been cancelled in its entirety. For complete details, review the full RFP. Please email questions to Vicki Nakamichi or call her at (206) 263-9299.

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