Many people have bought an ORCA card, put it aside, and found that their account was deactivated because it wasn’t used for 30 days. Delia Johnson was one of those people, but she “Got Jesse,” who got some answers. In the report, there’s some of the typical TV-news faux outrage, but it’s true that customer service hasn’t been a strong point of the ORCA experience.
I’m told the reason for the problem is all those ORCA readers out on buses. They can only update when they’re back at base, so there’s some delay before account information makes it to all the buses. Furthermore, there are some memory limitations on the system. That’s all understandable.
What’s not understandable is why the training for the call center people is so atrocious. A friend of mine had a similar problem with a deactivated ORCA card; when they called last month, she was told they would cut her a check for the balance. When no such check came, she called again and was told they’d simply add the balance to the card.
Also, fishing around for about 15 minutes on the ORCA card website did not turn up an answer for how this kind of problem is addressed. It may very well be on there somewhere, but such a frequent problem ought to be prominently answered.
Anecdotally, lots of our commenters have shared instances where the call center folks haven’t known what they’re talking about.
While I’m on the subject of ORCA and customer service, I’d like to give a special booby prize to the man who was working the northernmost service window at the Metro Jackson St. Service Center on September 2nd at noon. He left his window in mid-transaction to take a half-hour lunch break, without telling anyone where he was going or for how long. The customer was stuck there, unable to retrieve her ID, during the entire episode. You weren’t wearing a name tag, sir, so I don’t know who you are, but you give public employees everywhere a bad name. I hope your supervisor is reading this.