Shuttle Vehicle Permits

May 2024

What's Happening Now?

The Seattle City Council voted to approve the Employer Shuttles Program as a permanent program of the Seattle Department of Transportation in January 2023. Starting in Spring 2024, and SDOT will start accepting applications for new shared transit stops and new shuttle load zones from Seattle-area employers via the Shuttle Route Application. More information about this program can be found at the Employer Shuttles Program page. 

The new permit fees and conditions are as follows:

  • The Shuttle Vehicle Permit fee has increased to $632 per year for 2024.
  • New for the Program, SDOT has added data-sharing requirements to the Shuttle Vehicle Permit conditions. Employers will be required to share data such as routes, service levels, delays, crashes, and ridership. More information about this and other changes to Shuttle Vehicle Load Zone requests and the new Shared Transit Stop request can be found be found at the Employer Shuttles Program page. SDOT staff will be working with vehicle permit holders to collect this data.

A shuttle bus is a vehicle that carries 11 or more passengers on a fixed route that has been requested in advance by an organization. Shuttle buses are different from charter or sightseeing buses. For example, an employer may have many employees at two different job sites within Seattle and may wish to provide a shuttle service so that employees do not have to use their cars to move from one job site to the other. As an added benefit, these shuttles also help cut down on the number of employees driving alone, which reduces congestion, air pollution, and climate-warming emissions.

Any shuttle with a valid Shuttle Vehicle Permit can use any shuttle vehicle load zone in Seattle to pick up and drop off employees. A shuttle vehicle load zone is curbspace designated specifically for permitted shuttles. These zones are painted white and usually include “SHUTTLE ONLY” signs. 

The Employer Shuttles Program is a program that allows for employers to share select bus stops with King County Metro, use existing shuttle load zones and request the creation of new shuttle load zones, and operate shuttles at shared transit stops in shuttle load zones. To participate, employers must first have their Shuttle Vehicle Permit. Details about this program can be found here on the Employer Shuttles Program page. 

How can I obtain a Shuttle Vehicle Permit?

Organizations interested in shuttle vehicle permits may apply online or contact the SDOT Permit Counter at (206) 684-5086. (Note: These permits were formerly known as Shuttle Bus Permits.) The permit application requires information regarding the proposed route, frequency of stops, a business license, and vehicle registration. The permit is valid for one calendar year. Employers must have a permit for each vehicle intended to be used as a shuttle. The permit decal must be permanently affixed to the vehicle’s windshield.  

How much does a Shuttle Vehicle Permit cost?

$632.00 (Annual, per vehicle) This is subject to change with inflation each year. 

If employers would also like to participate in the Employer Shuttles Program through submitting a Shuttle Route Application, the fees are as follows: 

  • An hourly application review fee of $350 per hour for any City staff time reviewing shuttle vehicle zone and/or shared stop requests 
  • An annual fee per stop is $5,000 per location, to operate shuttle vehicles at approved public bus stops.  
  • Some specific institutions that have a need for shuttle as part of their official transportation management plan are eligible for a reduced use fee of $2,500 
  • Reimbursement for any one-time costs (for signage, paint, etc.) to create a new shuttle load zone along the curb, estimated at approximately $500

Fee amounts must be paid in full in order for SDOT to issue approved permits to applicants and for applicants to begin using new shuttle load zones or shared stops. Unpaid fees for Shuttle Vehicle Permits, Shared Transit Stop Permits, or hourly staff review may also impair the approval of other requested locations by the same applicant and may also be considered as a factor during permit renewal. 

These fees reimburse SDOT for the time it takes to review each application and to administer the program. Therefore, employers benefit from thoroughly completing their applications. 

How do I apply for a shuttle route through the Employer Shuttles Program? 

  • Before starting the application, employers must receive Shuttle Vehicle Permits for their entire shuttle fleet.
  • Then, employers must email the following information to as described in this FAQ Document
  • After completing the above, employers will be set up to submit a Shuttle Route Application.
  • Through the application, they may request to share bus stops and/or request a new shuttle load zone. 

Do employers need to share shuttle data with SDOT? 

As part of permit conditions, employers agree to share relevant data on a regular basis about the shuttle route serving the shuttle vehicle load zone or shared transit stop, including but not limited to routing pathways, service levels, delay, and crash incidents, and passenger utilization. Such data can help SDOT determine if shuttle vehicle load zones are being appropriately designated and ensure that use of shared transit stops is not negatively impacting transit or arterial operations. SDOT encourages employers to remain in regular communication about these data needs, their cadence, and the quantitative and qualitative information that is available to assess performance of employer shuttle operations. 

What are some resources for the Employer Shuttles Program? 
To learn more in-depth information about the program, refer to the Employer Shuttles Program website.  
How do I reach out if I have any questions or concerns about the Employer Shuttles Program? 
Email us at or call us at (206) 256-5511


Greg Spotts, Director
Address: 700 5th Ave, Suite 3800, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 34996, Seattle, WA, 98124-4996
Phone: (206) 684-7623

Newsletter Updates


Sign up for the latest updates from Transportation

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is on a mission to deliver a transportation system that provides safe and affordable access to places and opportunities for everyone as we work to achieve our vision of Seattle as a thriving, equitable community powered by dependable transportation.