Seattle transit expands smart card system

Posted on September 16, 2009

One Regional Card for All (ORCA) will be expanding to more bus, train and ferry riders around the Seattle region.


The limited rollout period for ORCA is now complete, and the seven partner agencies are launching major promotional efforts and moving forward with steps to phase out other transit passes.


ORCA is a smart card-based electronic fare system for public transportation agencies serving King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish counties. ORCA will replace approximately 300 various passes, tickets and transfers with a single card that works by simply tapping the ORCA card on a reader device.


ORCA was launched last April in a “limited rollout” phase to ensure the system could handle its complex transactions before greatly expanding its customer base. Over the past four months, more riders have been added to the system so that there are currently more than 100,000 ORCA cards in circulation being used on approximately eight percent of all daily transit rides in the region.


The ORCA rollout will continue for the remainder of the year as a print and radio advertising campaign encourages frequent and infrequent transit riders to get an ORCA card. Already, the seven agencies have used signage on their vehicles to get riders to convert to ORCA. Agency staff members have also ridden buses, trains and ferries to talk to riders about ORCA and how to use the cards.


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