Remember ORCA? It stands for One Regional Card for All (I think the namers were LOTR fans), and was a test of a regional smart card that would work on seven transit systems: King County Metro Transit, Sound Transit, Community Transit, Everett Transit Route, Kitsap Transit, Washington State Ferries, and Pierce transit. I never heard anything about it again after that, so I asked the ORCA team, but they never responded.

Does anyone know anything about it?

5 Replies to “What Ever Happened To ORCA?”

  1. I’d really like to know; I didn’t realize it was in trouble. I’ve been seeing the readers frequently on the 10, but not anyone using them. I was very much looking forward to the smart card, since I don’t ride enough to justify a pass, but I hate tickets.

  2. I think (but not sure) they are still in their trial period where they are testing it on certain routes. My friend is one of them testing the system. I think it would be nice to have, but they may be waiting for Light rail to release it which would make sense to me since we have the Puget Pass currently. I am lucky my work provides me with FlexPass. Love it!

  3. I remember reading that the target for rolling out the card system was this fall.

    I’ve certainly seen more of the card readers. There’s even one in the middle of the pedestrian bridge by King Street Station.

    Being a bus rider who has to constantly purchase tickets (not quite frequent enough to justify a monthly pass, plus the fares vary depending on where I go), I am really looking forward to this.

  4. I don’t know about this particular system, but some of these contactless smart card systems have had big implementation delays. The Go-To Card in Minneapolis was supposed to have been rolled out in September 2003, but it sounds like it’s only been opened up to the general public in the last few months. I remember seeing the readers at light rail stations and on buses in 2004, but it sounds like they had big problems getting things to work reliably.

    It wouldn’t surprise me if something similiar is happening here, especially with all the disparate systems it’s going on.

  5. I applied to test it, and got an email saying I was selected. I started seeing the card readers on the 594, which I ride usually twice a week. Then the readers disappeared. Never heard anything since that first email.

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