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Document Code No.: FIN-10-3 (PR)
Effective Date: August 1, 2016
Authorities: King County Code 6.64.111
Keywords:Wheelchair Accessible Services, WAS, Wheelchair Accessible Services Disbursement, WAS Fees, WAS Disbursement
Sponsoring Agency: Department of Executive Services - Records and Licensing Services Division
Department Director signature: /s/ Caroline Whalen, Department Director
Date signed: June 21, 2016
Type of action: New

Signed document (PDF, 444 KB)


1. PURPOSE

The purpose of this rule is:

To establish the conditions and procedures for disbursing the Wheelchair Accessible Service (WAS) Fee Surcharge proceeds to wheelchair accessible taxicab or wheelchair accessible for-hire vehicle owners and drivers.

To define the methodology for disbursing the WAS Fee Surcharge proceeds in a manner that offsets the higher operational costs incurred by owners and drivers of wheelchair accessible taxicabs or wheelchair accessible for-hire vehicles.

To align and establish continuity with Seattle Director’s Rules CPU-11-2016 (Wheelchair Accessible Services Surcharge Collection) and CPU-07-2015 (Reimbursement from the Wheelchair Accessible Services Fund), as may be amended or superseded.

Applicability and Audience

  • King County Records and Licensing Services Division
  • Owners and drivers of taxicabs and for-hire vehicles
  • Taxicab Associations and For-hire Vehicle Companies
  • City of Seattle Regulatory Compliance and Consumer Protection Division

References

  • King County Ordinance 17892
  • King County Code (K.C.C.) Chapter 6.64.111, Fee surcharge for taxicab licensees, for-hire vehicle licensees and transportation network companies - use of fee surcharge – adoption of rules (Effective November 12, 2014)
  • Revised Code of Washington 46.04.460 Registered owner
  • Seattle Director’s Rules CPU-11-2016 (Wheelchair Accessible Services Surcharge Collection) and CPU-07-2015 (Reimbursement from the Wheelchair Accessible Services Fund)

II. Definitions

“Director” means the director of the Department of Executive Services or the director’s designee.

“For-Hire Driver” means any person in control of, operating, or driving a taxicab or for-hire vehicle and includes a lessee, owner-operator, or driver of a taxicab or for-hire vehicle as an employee.

“For-Hire Vehicle Company” means a person who represents or owns for-hire vehicles licensed by King County that use the same color scheme, trade name, and dispatch services.

“Model Year” means the year as identified by the vehicle manufacturer to describe approximately when the vehicle was produced. The model year is found on the vehicle registration and/or vehicle title.

“Owner” means the registered owner of the vehicle as defined by RCW 46.04.460.

“Taxicab Association” means a person licensed under this chapter who represents or owns taxicabs licensed by King County that use the same color scheme, trade name and dispatch services.

WAS Trip means a ride (a) requiring a wheelchair accessible vehicle and dispatched specifically as a customer requested wheelchair accessible ride, (b) provided by a wheelchair accessible taxicab or wheelchair accessible for-hire vehicle with an associated wheelchair accessible vehicle medallion, and (c) originating within:


    1. Unincorporated King County.
    2. Any municipality that contracts with the county for the county to license taxicabs or for-hire vehicles that operate in the municipality.

III. Policy

The following information defines qualifying criteria, fund disbursement methodology, and process information. Collection of the WAS Fee Surcharge began effective November 12, 2014, and eligible trips commenced at 12:00 A.M. midnight on November 12, 2014.

A. Fund Reimbursement Categories


    1. Dispatched Wheelchair Passenger Trip Reimbursement: Reimbursement to drivers shall be made to offset the operational costs for fuel and time expended in the course of providing wheelchair accessible services. The Dispatched Wheelchair Passenger Trip reimbursement will be at a rate of $20 per dispatched trip.
    2. WAS Vehicle Maintenance/Acquisition Reimbursement: Reimbursement to vehicle owners shall be made to offset the expense of acquiring, installing, repairing, or replacing a wheelchair accessible vehicle and/or associated equipment. Eligible repairs to vehicles and equipment include: wheelchair access ramps, wheelchair related safety devices, axles, brakes, transmissions, engines, and wheelchair accessibility signage.
    3. WAS Training Fund. The director may reserve up to 5% of the total WAS fund collected quarterly to provide advanced WAS Training for drivers. WAS training funds may be used to reimburse drivers for approved training expenses or to pay training service providers in order to offset the cost to drivers.

B. Qualification Criteria


    1. WAS Driver Qualification. Qualifying wheelchair accessible trips require that an approved wheelchair accessible taxicab or for-hire vehicle be driven by a person holding a current/valid For-hire Driver’s License or For-hire Driver’s Permit issued by King County Records and Licensing Services with Wheelchair Accessible Taxi (WAT) certification. Driver certification requires successful completion of a Passenger Assistance/Paratransit driver training course.
    2. Dispatched Wheelchair Passenger Trip (WPT) Qualification. All dispatched WPT’s must include a minimum of one (1) wheelchair assisted passenger with each ride. Documentation of the Dispatched WPT call must be provided by the Taxicab Association or For-hire Vehicle Company, on behalf of their respective drivers, within 30 days following the end of the month in which the trip was dispatched, except that trips provided prior to the implementation of this rule, if not already submitted, shall be submitted within 30 days of the effective date of this rule. Qualifying trips must be documented as follows: A copy of the dispatch record that includes the association/company name, taxi/for-hire vehicle number, driver name and for-hire driver’s license number, and time and date of the trip. WPT trips performed pursuant to a contract for pickup of passengers as allowed for in KCC 6.64.760 are not eligible for WPT reimbursement.
    3. WAS Vehicle Qualification. Vehicles qualifying as wheelchair accessible must be inspected and approved for conformance with Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations Chapter 38, Subpart B. Inspections are conducted by approved ASE-certified technicians following the requirements of King County Code 6.64.360. The vehicle owner must demonstrate that the vehicle has been in operation a minimum of 30 hours per week for at least twenty-six weeks in the previous calendar year. Unless otherwise specified, vehicle owners must provide itemized receipts for maintenance and equipment costs incurred in the previous calendar year. Receipts reimbursed by the City of Seattle are not eligible for County reimbursement.

C. Fund Disbursement


    1. Dispatched Wheelchair Passenger Trip Disbursement

      a. Drivers: Each driver meeting the eligibility requirements in section B.1 above shall be eligible for disbursement of up to $20 per dispatched WPT made during the period November 12, 2014 through June 30, 2016. Should the funding level not be sufficient to cover the full WPT amount ($20 per trip), reimbursements will be prorated based on available funds and minimum fund levels.
      b. Beginning July 1, 2016, for all future WPT disbursements, payments shall be processed in the same manner in which the City of Seattle distributes payments to drivers.

    2. WAS Vehicle Maintenance/Acquisition Disbursement

      a. Vehicle Owners: To reimburse a vehicle owner(s) for expenses associated with owning and maintaining a wheelchair accessible taxicab, the owner shall be eligible for a one-time payment for 2015 and one-time payment for 2016 as provided in section 2.b below of up to $1,500 per year for each wheelchair accessible taxicab owned and licensed to operate in King County and the City of Seattle, or up to $5,000 per year for each WAT vehicle licensed to operate only in King County. If the fund level is insufficient to provide for the above amount, priority shall be given as follows:

        i. WAT certified vehicles licensed to operate in King County, first $3,500 of reimbursement, prorated as funds allow.
        ii. If funds remain, WAT certified vehicles licensed to operate in King County and/or the City of Seattle $1,500, prorated based on the total as funds allow.

      b. Reimbursement for each year 2015 and 2016 (receipts for expense incurred in the respective year) - A vehicle with a model year that is five (5) years old or less as of the reimbursement year is qualified for a disbursement with no requirement for original receipts. A vehicle with a model year earlier than 5 years (6 to 10 years) as of the reimbursement year is qualified for a disbursement when documented by original receipts. Expenses already reimbursed by the City of Seattle WAS fund are not eligible.
      c. Reimbursement beginning in year 2017 (Receipts for expenses incurred in 2017). Vehicles qualify for reimbursement according to the following schedule based on the age of the vehicle as of December 31 of the reimbursement year:
      King County WAT vehicles:

      Age of Vehicle (based on Model Year)

      Original Receipts required (Yes/No)

      Maximum Reimbursement Amount

      0-5

      No

      $1,500

      6

       

      Yes

      $1,250*

      7

      $1,000*

      8-10

      $750*


      King County and Seattle (Dual) licensed WAT vehicles:

      Age of Vehicle (based on Model Year)

      Original Receipts required (Yes/No)

      Maximum Reimbursement Amount

      0-5

      No

      $1,500

      6

       

      Yes

      $1,250*

      7

      $1,000*

      8-10

      $750*


      * Expenses already reimbursed by the City of Seattle WAS fund are not eligible.

      d. Vehicle age is determined based on the Model Year. Example: For 2015 reimbursement (paid in 2016), a wheelchair accessible 2010 Toyota Sienna would have a vehicle age of 5 years.

      e. For eligibility in all years, the wheelchair accessible vehicle must actively provide WPT’s in all months in which the vehicle is operating. “Active” shall be determined by the dispatch report showing wheelchair accessible services being provided on an annual basis, on average, a minimum of five (5) trips per month (60 WPT’s per year).

    D. WAS Training Fund


      The director may reserve up to 5% of the total WAS fund collected quarterly to provide wheelchair accessible services driver training and advanced WAS driver training.

    E. Disbursement Methodology/Minimum-Maximum Amounts


      1. The Wheelchair Accessible Services fund shall always maintain a balance that is 5% greater than the projected disbursements for the following 30 days. If the balance is not maintained, WPT payments to drivers and vehicle owners will be prorated.
      2. Should the fund level exceed the disbursement amounts the County will distribute excess funds into a WAS Vehicle Capital Expense Pool and make available to offset WAS vehicle replacement or to facilitate new WAS vehicle acquisition.
      3. Calculation of the fund level will exclude any funds reserved for the WAS Training Fund.

    F. Application


      1. King County WAS application processing and payments will be administered by the City of Seattle Regulatory Compliance and Consumer Protection Division in conjunction with administration and disbursement of the City’s WAS fund unless notice is provided otherwise.
      2. Taxicab Associations and For Hire Companies must submit documentation of qualifying rides to the City of Seattle Regulatory Compliance and Consumer Protection Division within 30 days following the end of the month in which the trip was dispatched, except that trips provided prior to the implementation of this rule, if not already submitted, shall be submitted within 30 days of the effective date of this rule.
      3. Owners of wheelchair accessible taxicabs and for hire vehicles must submit an application for the Vehicle Maintenance/Acquisition Disbursement to the City of Seattle Regulatory Compliance and Consumer Protection Division no later than February 28 following the calendar year in which the vehicle was operated for the years starting with 2016. For 2015, applications must be submitted within 60 days of the effective date of this rule.

    G. Compliance Requirement


      Taxicab Associations and For Hire Companies must be in full compliance with the collection and remittance of the WAS fee to the City of Seattle on behalf of the County (KCC 6.64.111) and the reporting requirements of K.C.C. 6.64.780 A.1.g, in order for affiliated drivers and owners to receive payments from the WAS Fund.

    H. Criteria for Conversion


      1. Any taxicab or for-hire vehicle converted to a wheelchair accessible vehicle is a qualifying vehicle provided that proper prior written approval has been received by the director and other applicable requirements of this rule have been satisfied. A vehicle converted after January 1, 2016, and not already licensed as a WAT vehicle, must receive written approval from the director prior to the commencement of the year in which the vehicle may otherwise be eligible for a disbursement from the fund.
      2. If the quantity of wheelchair accessible vehicles increases by more than 10% per year, the director may impose a moratorium limiting access to WAS fund reimbursement to vehicles already qualified as of a certain date in order to avoid the impact of new vehicles reducing fund disbursements below the level anticipated by this rule.
      3. For purposes of calculating the 10%, the baseline for the initial calculation shall be fifty (50) wheelchair accessible vehicles.

    I. Procedures


      1. Action By: King County Customer Service Staff Receive Wheelchair Accessible Service vehicle applications for eligibility. Forward Wheelchair Accessible Service vehicle applications to the director for approval.
      2. Action By: City of Seattle Regulatory Compliance and Consumer Protection Division Receive trip data from Taxicab Associations and For-Hire Companies, process and calculate data for issuing disbursements and prorate disbursements at King County’s direction if necessary based on the total funds available. Issue disbursements for qualifying trips directly to drivers. Issue disbursements for WAS vehicle maintenance/acquisition directly to owners.
      3. Action By: King County Records and Licensing Services and/or City of Seattle Regulatory Compliance and Consumer Protection Division Audit data dispatch records reported by Taxicab Associations and For-hire Vehicle Companies. Audit WAS dispatch records to validate that vehicles providing WAS are operated by drivers with current WAT training certification as described in 6.2. Audit collection and recording of trip documentation for WAS fees. Audit vehicle maintenance receipts submitted for reimbursement, up to and including verification with maintenance and equipment installation service providers
      4. Action By: King County Director of Records and Licensing or Designee Review and consider new Wheelchair Accessible Service vehicle owner applications for approval. Monitor the number of taxicabs and for-hire vehicles converting to Wheelchair Accessible Service vehicles and issue a moratorium should the fleet of wheelchair accessible vehicles increase by more than 10% per year.

    J. Responsibilities


      1. City of Seattle Regulatory Compliance and Consumer Protection Division on behalf of King County Records and Licensing may administer the collection and disbursement processes.
      2. Taxicab Associations and For-hire Vehicle Companies shall comply with the reporting requirements of K.C.C. 6.64.780 and this rule.
      3. Taxicab and for-hire vehicle owners must submit documentation for costs of maintenance, retrofitting and/or conversion to wheelchair accessible vehicle to the City of Seattle Regulatory Compliance and Consumer Protection Division on a form approved by the City.

IV. Implementation Plan

A. This rule becomes effective for the Records and Licensing Services Division on August 1, 2016. The Records and Licensing Services Division is responsible for implementation of this policy.

V. Maintenance

This rule will be maintained by the Records and Licensing Services Division, or its successor agency.

VI. Consequences for Noncompliance

Noncompliance with this rule may result in ineligibility for disbursements.

Appendices: WAS Vehicle Maintenance/Acquisition Reimbursement Form