The vending machine is located by the Rider Services Building
The new card vending machine.

Eastside transit riders no longer have to travel to Seattle to purchase an ORCA card in person. A new ORCA vending machine was installed at the Bellevue Transit Center recently last month. You can find the machine outside the rider services building on the north side of the transit center.

The machines are the same model found at Sounder and Link stations with limited functionality. What you can do is listed in 5 simple steps on the machine itself. You can add value to your e-purse, purchase a pass, check your card’s balance, or purchase a new Adult card. The machine accepts cash (coins and bills), credit cards, and e-purse for payment. You cannot purchase a paper ticket. Senior, disabled, and youth cards still need to be obtained at a customer service office or by mail.

While the list of ORCA retailers is slowly growing, retail locations can only add value to existing cards; they do not sell ORCA cards. The new vending machine is a welcome addition that will make ORCA more convenient to use for many.

15 Replies to “Bellevue TC Gets an ORCA Vending Machine”

  1. Did anyone else have trouble buying a puget pass from the TVMs for December yesterday? I tried a bunch, and they’d only let me buy for January— December was greyed out. I ended up doing it from the website which worked fine, but was annoying. I hate ORCA sometimes :(

  2. Hallelujah! Now they just need to install many, many more of these. ORCA’s major downfall is that they decided to make most users rely on the website for loading and purchasing cards, and then designed a horrible website! I think ORCA adoption would be much higher if there were more vending machines available, especially at the major transit centers.

    1. I Agree, I biked to Seattle from Kent one day over the summer for the purpose of buying an Orca card. I made the mistake of going on the weekend. I had no idea you could buy them from the TVM’s when I looked it up, that did not present itself as an option. So I got to Westlake Station, and found out the little metro kiosk was closed on weekends, then I wandered to a rite aid downtown that indicated it dealt with Orca, went to the back, saw they took cash only, went and bought something to get cash back, then went to purchase a card, and they informed me that they could only be reloaded there, so I went to Uwajimaya and had lunch, and went to ID station to take Link halfway home, and found out I could buy one there, and thought it probably should have been made more apparent that I could buy one at a TVM This being the case I could have just wandered a mile downhill from my house and bought one at the sounder station. Point is, they should make the TVM option more apparent!

  3. Why can’t retails sell cards? Couldn’t they just pre-load 5 dollars on them and charge 10 for the card. Sound simple enough… although ORCA often seems to fail at some of these simple transaction stuff.

    In most north European counties you can take care of all of your public transit fare needs at 7-11 or a similar chain like Pressbyrån.

      1. Seriously, though. ORCA availability, everywhere, now.

        No more #%&%ing Metro fare increases until cash payment and paper transfers are a thing of the past.

      1. Safeway is not yet selling cards but they said it’s in the works. You can currently refill your card at your local courtesy counter. Although don’t rely on it as the machine is often “broke” and nobody knows how to unplug it and plug it back in.

  4. The problem remains whoever was contracted out to implement the ORCA technology. ST has nothing to do with ORCA’s software, website, etc. Everything about ORCA so far is horrifically user-unfriendly.

    The website is an obvious rush job, the TVMs regularly break down, the interface is about as basic as possible, they’re uni-lingual, the readers break down, etc etc etc.

    That’s why, I believe, the contractor has not yet received full payment. ORCA is not considered satisfactory enough to be dubbed ‘finished’.

    1. The TVMs now have a Spanish and Chinese option, including voice over. They added graphics making it more obvious where to place your ORCA card and the Link station pictograms.

  5. It will be nice if they put some kind of visible sign on top of the TVM, and a directional sign at the main platform, since the machine’s kind of off it to the northside and people most likely won’t notice it (as for the restrooms in the rider service bldg.)

    Lynnwood, Northgate, and Federal Way TCs are the next best candidates in my opinion, if ST don’t have much to spend on this.

  6. It’d be really nice if there were more options for youth and seniors to get ORCA cards. That’s a pretty substantial transit market with only two options. Seems like if they really need youth and seniors to come in person and show ID, they could do that at Walgreens and Safeway too. Better than San Francisco though, where you have to go to the SFMTA headquarters and go through a metal detector and wait in a long line before filling out a form and showing ID, then wait until they approve your request and send you your Translink card a few weeks later.

    1. Check the senior centers. My mom says a Metro guy comes to the Bellevue senior center every few months and distributes ORCA cards.

  7. Wait, Seattle has TVMs that actually sell the RFID card, and real live people you can go interact with to resolve issues, including the application for Senior and Youth cards?


    (because L.A. doesn’t!)

    Oh, and if you think the ORCA web site sucks…

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