I often travel with someone who relies on a student pass. They recently lost it, and as none of the schools around here are yet on ORCA, that means they’re out of luck for the rest of the quarter. As a result, when we ride a bus, I typically pay for them out of my e-purse.
In order to do this, I have to ask the operator for a “group fare”. The operator takes the ORCA reader out of service, adds two adult fares, then puts it back into service – the next swipe uses my pass for one fare, and my e-purse for the other, automatically. The operator has to do this, you can’t just double swipe – the system assumes that’s a mistake or a “pass-back” (and that’s a good thing, it prevents double-withdrawals that users might not even notice).
Many bus drivers don’t know how to do this, though – so much of the time, the operator just hands out a free transfer. I encourage taking advantage of this – Metro needs a reason to improve their operators’ ORCA training. According to @VeloBusDriver, the button to do this on the ORCA console has an icon showing multiple people, but it’s so rarely used that operators sometimes forget about it.
There’s one more interesting point here. How does the second user (or third, or fourth) in a group fare transfer to Link? ORCA customer service doesn’t seem to know.