Smartphone with ORCA cards. Courtesy of ORCA.

Smartphone with ORCA cards. Courtesy of ORCA.

Love A Tree Day to mark the beginning of ORCA’s new card system

In most transit areas, fares won’t be collected from 3:00 a.m. on May 14 until 2:29 a.m. on May 16.

ORCA transit users across the Puget Sound region will have access to a new and improved website and smartphone app that will incorporate real-time value loading on their ORCA cards, beginning on May 16, or Love A Tree Day. New card readers and vending machines will also receive a technological update.

“We’re beginning to deliver the first features of the new ORCA system and appreciate the patience of riders as we pivot between vendors and launch improvements over the next few years,” said Christina O’Claire, ORCA Joint Board Chair and King County Metro Mobility Director.

O’Claire relayed how ORCA customers can continue to use their existing cards, although they will have access to updated features. ORCA users who are interested in accessing the new features can do so by creating a new account and registering existing cards online at the new website.

The new smartphone app—available on the Apple app store and the Google Play store—will allow customers to manage their account from any location at any time. The updated website will feature real-time card loading, mobile phone accessibility, greater payment options, and ability to manage multiple cards.

From May 14 at 3:00 a.m. until May 16 at 2:29 a.m., ORCA users in most area transit systems will not collect fares as the ORCA system transitions to the new system.

Those who ride Washington ferries as a walk-on or vehicle passenger will not be charged but will need to show their ORCA cards to attendants during those two days. Vehicle driver fares will be required, and an alternative form of payment will be needed at toll booths.

“When fully launched, the new ORCA system and features will make riding transit easier and more accessible and will help riders save money as they access the ever-expanding transit network in the Puget Sound region,” said O’Claire.

Single-ride and pass prices will remain the same following the ORCA system transition. Later this year and into 2023, ORCA plans to increase the number of stores in its retail network, as well as introducing a smartphone tap-to-pay option.


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