TAXICAB REGULATION ORDINANCE 118341

(Effective 1 January 1997)

AN ORDINANCE relating to for-hire vehicles, taxicabs and for-hire drivers, adding a new chapter 6.310 to the Seattle Municipal Code to license for-hire vehicles, taxicabs, for-hire drivers and taxicab associations both for regulation and revenue, and repealing Chapters 6.208, 6.211 and 6.212 of the Seattle Municipal Code.

BE IT ORDAINED BY THE CITY OF SEATTLE AS FOLLOWS:

Chapter 6.310

TAXICABS AND FOR-HIRE VEHICLES

I. GENERAL PROVISIONS

6.310.100 Purpose.

This ordinance is an exercise of the City of Seattle's power to license for-hire vehicles, taxicabs, for-hire drivers and taxicab associations, for regulation and revenue. Some of its regulatory purposes are to increase the safety, reliability, cost-effectiveness, and the economic viability and stability of privately-operated for-hire vehicle and taxicab services within the City of Seattle.

6.310.110 Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter and unless the context plainly requires otherwise, the following definitions apply:

6.310.120 Scope.

This chapter applies to all taxicab associations, all taxicabs, all for-hire vehicles and all for-hire drivers operating within the City of Seattle. This chapter is not intended to be a part of the New License Code, Chapter 6.202 et seq.

6.310.130 Licenses required.

6.310.140 Rule-making authority.

The Director is authorized to promulgate and adopt rules pursuant to SMC chapter 3.02 to implement the provisions of this chapter.

6.310.150 Fees.

The following non-refundable fees shall apply:

Taxicab Association, Taxicab, For-Hire Vehicle and For-Hire Driver Fees

B. Taxicab or for-hire vehicle license

* No fee is due if change of ownership takes place during July 16-Aug 31 and is in conjunction with annual license renewal.
** For re-test of taxicab meter and inspections provided to other municipalities.

C. For-hire driver

*** Taxicab drivers may only drive for a maximum of three (3) associations.

II. TAXICAB ASSOCIATIONS LICENSING AND OPERATING REQUIREMENTS

6.310.200 Taxicab Association -- license application.

6.310.205 Taxicab association owners, partners, and principals--Investigation.

All applicants for a taxicab or for-hire vehicle license must consent to be fingerprinted for a criminal background check.

6.310.210 Taxicab Association -- standards for license denial.

6.310.220 Taxicab Association-- approval of color scheme and uniform

The Director shall have final approval over the taxicab association's color scheme and uniform, in order to ensure that there is no risk of confusion between the colors of different taxicab associations, and to ensure that the uniform meets the standards of SMC 6.310.200(A)(3&4).

6.310.230 Taxicab Association--Operating Responsibilities.

  • B. Taxicab associations must meet the requirements of 6.310.200(C).

  • C. Failure to meet the requirements of this section (SMC 2.310.230) is a violation of this chapter.

    6.310.240 Taxicab association -- transfers in the interest of a taxicab association.

    A taxicab association license is not transferable. However, an interest in a business entity holding a taxicab association license may be transferred, but only after the new owner or principal has submitted an application, met the standards and requirements contained in sections 6.310.200, 6.310.205, and 6.310.210, and secured written approval of the Director.

    6.310.250 Taxicab association -- license renewals.

    A taxicab association license is valid for no more than one (1) year and expires on December 31. No taxicab association license may be renewed unless the renewal fee has been paid and all outstanding penalties assessed against the taxicab association, its affiliated taxicabs and the for-hire drivers of affiliated taxicabs have been paid to the Director. The Director shall not renew the taxicab association license unless the Director determines that the taxicab association's continued operation is in the public interest. All denials of renewal applications must be set forth in writing, together with the reasons for denial. The written denial shall be delivered either personally or by first class mail to the address provided by the applicant on the license renewal application.

    III. TAXICAB AND FOR-HIRE VEHICLE LICENSING AND REQUIREMENTS

    6.310.300 Taxicab and for-hire vehicle license application.

    6.310.330 Taxicab owner and for-hire vehicle owner responsibilities.

    6.310.340 Taxicab and for-hire vehicle -- license transfer.

    A for-hire vehicle or taxicab license may be transferred. No transfer of a for-hire vehicle or taxicab license can take effect until all outstanding penalties assessed against the owner and/or any driver of the for-hire vehicle or taxicab are paid in full to the Director. The proposed transferee must submit a for-hire vehicle or taxicab license application according to the standards set forth in SMC 6.310.300. The standards for denial set forth in SMC 6.310.310 apply to proposed transfers. Transfers shal l not become effective, and the proposed transferee may not operate the taxicab or for-hire vehicle, until the proposed transferee receives the taxicab or for-hire vehicle license.

    6.310.350 Taxicab and for-hire vehicle -- license expiration and renewal.

    6.310.360 Destruction, replacement, retirement or inactivity of a taxicab or for-hire vehicle.

    6.310.370 Taxicab and for-hire vehicle -- owner surrender of vehicle license.

    It is unlawful to operate a taxicab or for-hire vehicle whose license has been suspended or revoked. The taxicab association, taxicab owner and taxicab driver are jointly and severally responsible for immediately surrendering the vehicle license plate or decal and taxicab vehicle license to the Director. The for-hire vehicle owner and for-hire vehicle driver(s) are jointly and severally responsible for immediately surrendering the vehicle license plate or decal and for-hire vehicle license to the Director (Class C and Misdemeanor if violation was knowingly permitted).

    IV. FOR-HIRE DRIVER LICENSING AND REQUIREMENTS

    6.310.400 For-hire driver license application.

    6.310.405 Criminal background check.

    All applicants for a for-hire driver's license must consent to be fingerprinted for a criminal background check.

    6.310.410 For-hire driver physician's certification.

    6.310.415 For-hire driver training program.

    6.310.420 For-hire driver written and oral examination.

    6.310.425 For-hire driver temporary permit.

    6.310.430 For-hire driver -- standards for license denial.

    6.310.440 For-hire driver license expiration and renewal.

    6.310.450 For-hire driver operating standards.

    6.310.455 For-hire driver conduct standards

    6.310.460 For-hire driver taxicab meter/rates standards.

    6.310.465 For-hire driver-passenger relations standards.

    6.310.470 For-hire driver soliciting and cruising standards.

    6.310.475 For-hire driver taxi zone standards.

    V. ENTRY STANDARDS AND RATES

    6.310.500 Taxicabs. Maximum number.

    6.310.510 Response times.

    The Director shall establish a schedule of optimum average taxicab response times to requests for taxicab service at selected points within the City. The Director shall periodically thereafter survey actual taxicab response times. A comparison of average actual response times to the optimum average taxicab response times shall be used as an indicator of taxicab industry performance and may be used as one criterion in evaluating and recommending rate and entry changes.

    6.310.520 Director's Reports.

    When requested by the Seattle City Council, the Director shall file a report with the Seattle City Council based upon data collected on tripsheets or through taximeter readings. The report may include but not be limited to the following:

    6.310.530 Rates.

    VI. ENFORCEMENT

    6.310.600 Penalties.

    6.310.605 Monetary Penalties and Penalty Points.

    A. For-Hire Driver or Taxicab/For-hire Vehicle Violations.

    VIOLATION                            PENALTIES AGAINST        PENALTY POINTS
                                         FOR-HIRE DRIVER, OR      ATTRIBUTED TO
                                         OWNER OF TAXICAB OR      TAXICAB
                                         FOR-HIRE VEHICLE         ASSOCIATION1
    
    (1)  Violations found away from city's inspection facility
    
    
    First Class A in one year
    (Sept. 1-Aug. 31                         $30                      2
    
    Second Class A in one year               $60                      3
    
    Third or more Class A violation
    in one year                             $100                      4
    
    First Class B violation in one year      $60                      4
    
    Second Class B violation in one year    $150                      7
    
    Third or more Class B violation
    in one year                             $250                     10
    
    All Class C violations                 $1000                     20
    
    1Penalties and penalty points are attributed to the taxicab association with which the taxicab and/or for-hire driver is affiliated at the time the violation occurs.
    
    (2)      Violations found during inspections at city's inspection facility.
    
    Class A violation found      Vehicle re-inspection fee    2 each violation
    during inspection at city's  See fee schedule in
    inspection facility.         Section 6.310.150
    
    Class B violation found      Vehicle re-inspection fee    4 each violation
    during inspection at city's  See fee schedule in
    inspection facility.         Section 6.310.150
    

    B. Taxicab Association Violations.

    VIOLATION                                 PENALTY POINTS AGAINST
                                              TAXICAB ASSOCIATION
    
    First Class A violation in one year                 5
    (September 1 - August 31)
    
    Second Class A violation in one year                6
    
    Third or more Class A violation in one year         7
    
    First Class B violation in one year                10
    
    Second Class B violation in one year               12
    
    Third or more Class B violation in one year        15
    

    As soon as an association accumulates more than 5 penalty points per affiliated taxicab, on average, it must pay a penalty to the Director of $100 per affiliated taxicab. As soon as an association accumulates more than 7 penalty points per affiliated taxicab, on average, it must pay an additional penalty to the Director of $150 per affiliated taxicab. As soon as an association accumulates more than 10 points per affiliated taxicab, on average, it must pay an additional penalty to the Director of $250 per affiliated taxicab. For purposes of this subsection, average number of penalty points per affiliated taxicab means total association penalty points divided by number of taxicabs within the association.

    Upon renewal of the taxicab association license, the association will start the new year with zero (0) penalty points.

  • C. Taxicab or For-Hire Vehicle Owner's Responsibility for Penalties Incurred by For-Hire Drivers. A taxicab or for-hire vehicle owner is jointly and severally liable for each monetary penalty assessed against any for-hire driver who commits a violation while operating a taxicab or for-hire vehicle belonging to that owner. The City is not required to pursue collection of the penalty from the driver as a prerequisite to pursuing collection of the penalty from the owner.

  • D. Taxicab Association's Responsibility for Penalties Incurred By For-Hire Drivers and Taxicab Owners. In addition to incurring penalty points, the taxicab association is jointly and severally liable for each monetary penalty assessed against any for-hire driver or taxicab affiliated with the taxicab association. The City is not required to pursue collection of the penalty from the for-hire driver or the taxicab owner as a prerequisite to pursuing collection of the penalty from the taxicab associa tion.

    6.310.610 Suspension or Revocation.

    6.310.635 Notice and Hearing for Denials, Violations, Suspensions and Revocations.

    VII. MISCELLANEOUS

    6.310.700 Consumer complaint hotline.

    The Director may establish, in conjunction with King County and the Port of Seattle, a shared consumer complaint telephone number and complaint process.

    6.310.710 Passenger complaint process.

    6.310.720 Renewal of license, registration or permit - late penalty.

    A late penalty shall be charged on all applications for renewal of a license, registration or permit received later than ten working days after the expiration date of such license, registration or permit as set forth in the respective resolution or ordinance establishing the expiration date of such license, registration or permit. The amount of such late penalty is fixed in SMC 6.310.150.

    6.310.730 Plates, tags, etc. property of City.

    All taxicab or for-hire vehicle license plates, year decals shall remain the property of the City.

    Section 3. Unless otherwise specifically stated in this ordinance, the provisions of this ordinance relating to taxicab associations, the requirement that taxicab owners and for-hire drivers join associations, and the provisions relating to penalty points associated with violations shall take effect May 1, 1997. The fee provisions of section 6.310.150 and the provisions of section 6.310.605 imposing monetary penalties shall become effective January 1, 1997. Taxicab association license fees paid in 1997 s hall be prorated on a monthly basis. New license requirements for taxicab or for-hire vehicle owners or drivers shall take effect upon the person's license anniversary date.

    Section 4. Severability. Should any section, subsection paragraph, sentence, clause or phrase of this chapter be declared unconstitutional or invalid for any reason, such decision shall not affect the validity remaining portion of this chapter.

    Section 5. This ordinance shall take effect and be in force January 1, 1997 after its approval by the Mayor, but if not approved and returned by the Mayor within ten (10) days after presentation, it shall take effect as provided by Municipal Code Section 1.04.020.

    Note: This new ordinance was passed by the City Council and signed by the Mayor on October 21, 1996.

    mmr:
    October 21, 1996


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