After eliminating paper transfers in favor of ORCA last October, Kitsap Transit commissioners voted yesterday to allow for limited paper transfers through the end of the year.
The resolution places “paper transfers back on our vehicles until the end of the year,” said Laurie Talbert, public information coordinator for Kitsap Transit. “It is a limited transfer, because unlike an ORCA transfer which is valid for two hours in any direction at any location and between regional agencies, our paper transfer is limited to the next connecting Kitsap Transit bus or foot ferry and is valid only at our transfer centers.”
ORCA is a regional transit pass that automatically handles transfers, but it costs $5 to purchase a card, and that had some social advocacy groups questioning the equity of requiring cards to handle transfers.
The issue was put in front of commissioners “after input from social service agencies in our area that provide bus fare to their low income clients “They have requested additional time to help their low income clients convert to the ORCA card.” In Kitsap County, cards are only available at a Ferry terminal, one Safeway store, and online. Other Safeway stores will begin to carry the cards later this year, according to the Kitsap Sun.
“Kitsap Transit offers a low income fare, but must obtain their initial ORCA card in person at our Customer Service Office,” Talbert explained to us. “The logistics of getting each of their clients to our office has been difficult and the elimination of our paper transfers and the implementation of the $5 card fee have made that trip to our office more costly for the agencies. The temporary return of our transfers will cut their cost to convert the remainder of their clients to ORCA.”
The lessons of Kitsap Transit will be instructive as other agencies begin to eliminate paper transfers. Thanks to reader Mike Fisher for the tip.