Seattle currently regulates what taxi drivers wear, how they look, and how they smell. But the city is considering pumping the brakes on this measure, and letting drivers set their own standards for dress code and hygiene when they are behind the wheel.
As part of the budget package for next year, Seattle may do away with the city-mandated taxi driver dress code.
While some view it as a positive step for drivers whose companies and jobs have been subject to too much government oversight, others are concerned that without such regulations, riders may receive an unpleasant experience. The convenience of getting across the city in the back of the cab might be overshadowed by the stench coming from the driver's seat.
Currently, drivers are expected to have "well groomed facial hair," wear clothing "without unrepaired rips and tears," and are expected to be free from "offensive body odor," to name a few requirements.
Lisa Peyer, chief of staff of the city's Department of Finance and Administrative Services, which oversees taxi regulations in Seattle, said she thinks this is the first time a proposal has been put forth to eliminate the dress code.
"The city doesn't dictate to any other business in the city how they should dress," Denise Movius, deputy director of the Department of Finance and Administrative Services, told ABC affiliate KOMO.
"Basically they're saying, 'Treat us like adults,'" Movius said.
If the taxi dress code is eliminated, Peyer said some rules would still exist for drivers, but that they would be "self regulated by the company, the association, and the drivers."