Seattle has a smaller taxi fleet than most major cities do, and it's not the most reliable. Taking a cab is not a major form of transportation in the city, and the number of taxis is highly controlled by the city; accordingly, you'll find that rates run higher here. Most people take cabs only to and from the airport and when they go out partying on weekends. You'll often be able to hail cabs on the street in Downtown, but anywhere else, you'll have to call. Expect long waits on Friday and Saturday night.
Rides generally run about $2.70 per mile. The meter drop alone is $2.60, and you'll pay 50¢ per minute stuck in traffic. Unless you're going a very short distance, the average cost of a cab ride in the city is $10–$25 before tip. The nice thing about Seattle metered cabs is that they almost always accept credit cards, and an automated system calls you on your cell phone to let you know that your cab has arrived. All cab companies listed here charge the same rates. Visit www.taxifarefinder.com before your trip to see roughly how much the fare will be, and the best route to tell your driver to take. Techies might opt to hail cabs with the app GoCurb (iTunes or www.gocurb.com), but be aware they’re not linked to all the local cab companies, and reviews have been hit and miss.
In 2016, Sea-Tac chose Eastside for Hire as the exclusive taxi service to Sea-Tac. Taxis are required to be available to customers within five minutes at the airport.
Metered cabs are not the best way to visit the Eastside or any destination far outside the city—if you get stuck in traffic, you'll pay dearly for it. Take the bus when possible, and ask your hotel for car-service quotes concerning short side trips outside city limits.
Many locals avoid cabs entirely and take advantage of app-based ride services like Uber or Lyft, both of which boast large fleets of drivers in Seattle. The rides tend to be cheaper than cabs and have less of a wait time. You'll need to download the apps in advance and register with a credit card; fares will be automatically deducted at the end of your ride. Before you book, be sure to check the current rates, which fluctuate with demand; during major events, even a short ride can cost a small fortune thanks to surge pricing.
Eastside For Hire. Kirkland, Washington. 206/242--6200; flatrateforhire.com.
Graytop Cab. 206/282–8222.
Green Cab. 206/575–4040.
Orange Cab. 206/522–8800; 425/453–0919; www.orangecab.net.
Yellow Cab. 206/622–6500; www.seattleyellowcab.com.