April 20, 2009

Seattle transit rolls out smart card

Seattle-based transportation authorities Community Transit, Everett Transit, King County Metro Transit, Kitsap Transit, Pierce Transit, Sound Transit and Washington State Ferries have partnered to roll out the One Regional Card for All (ORCA) smart card.

 

A limited rollout of the system began April 20 at the same time the partner agencies work to identify and resolve remaining technical issues in a live environment.

 

The limited rollout will continue for several weeks followed by a more extensive ORCA launch and customer awareness campaign expected to begin in June. The phase-in of ORCA will continue through the end of the year as people’s current transit passes expire and are replaced by ORCA cards. The phased process will give transit customers and the agencies time to transition to the new system.

 

The electronic fare system will replace about 300 various passes, tickets and transfers with a single card that works for all seven of the major public transportation agencies serving King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish counties.

 

ORCA cardholders can check their accounts online, by phone or at ticket vending machines. Customers will have the option to register their cards, which allows them to restore their card value if it is lost or stolen.

 

Cash will continue to be accepted on all of the transit systems. However, the transit agencies plan to eliminate paper transfers for trips between multiple agencies as more customers move to the ORCA card. With ORCA, a valid transfer will automatically be available for subsequent rides on trains and buses within two hours.

 

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