Sound Transit, along with six regional transit partners, launched the new ORCA electronic fare system from INIT Innovations in Transportation Inc. The new ORCA system will improve the customer experience by delivering real-time account management, facilitating new payment options, maintaining customer data security, and enabling the future use of mobile devices to pay fares.
The ORCA fare system spans multiple modes of transportation, including fixed-route buses, light rail, commuter rail, streetcars, ferries, and water taxis. The improved ORCA system was delivered by a regional team led by seven stakeholder agencies: Community Transit, Everett Transit, King County Metro, Kitsap Transit, Pierce Transit, Sound Transit, and Washington State Ferries.
The core of the new ORCA system is MOBILEvario, INIT’s back-office fare management and processing software. MOBILEvario will recognize and process revenue sharing for each of the seven partner agencies, manage accounts, and automate reconciliation.
“We are excited to bring this new and improved ORCA system, website, and mobile app to the millions of ORCA customers in the Puget Sound,” says Brittany Esdaile, Director of ORCA. “The new system will be faster and more convenient with real-time value loading. We are eager to continue improving ORCA for our customers in the coming years, including adding a smartphone tap-to-pay option.”
INIT fare validators are onboard local and regional buses and located at stations for easy tap and go boarding. They are PCI (Payment Card Industry)- and EMV (Europay, MasterCard® and Visa®)-certified for the acceptance of contactless cards as well as virtual cards stored in a mobile app. In addition, INIT validators are certified “Visa Ready for Transit” and wear the ITxPT (Information Technology for Public Transport) label ensuring the hardware is built with an open architecture design and facilitates interoperability between IT systems.
INIT’s state-of-the-art Ticket Vending Machines (TVM) are in place at stations throughout the region and will be transitioned into service over time as the legacy TVMs are phased out. The process will help in making the changeover easier for customers during the adoption period.