by STEPHEN FESLER
I recently bent my $3.50 PugetPass ORCA accidentally near the chip in the corner and it caused my card to become non-functional whenever I tried to tap. I have another card linked to my ORCA account, so I called Metro Transit to see if I could transfer my PugetPass to my working reserve ORCA.
The Metro tele-agent explained that the transfer of the PugetPass to my working reserve ORCA was possible, but that in order for the PugetPass to transfer, staff would have to receive approval from managers and that the queue was so long that it would take 6-8 days. To move faster, I could just go to one of the Metro sales offices in Seattle. I told the agent to go ahead and cancel the non-functional card and put in the request for the transfer despite not fancying the one-week wait.
The following day I rang up Pierce Transit to see if I could get a different outcome, preferably an expedited transfer. No such luck, same one-week plus response. I then tried Metro a second time, but interestingly, the tele-agent said that my PugetPass ORCA was still active and no request had been filed. The agent also gave the same one-week plus response.
I hitched a ride to Metro’s King Street Center—this is where things start getting interesting and murky. The sales agent said that Metro had no such policy/ability to transfer a PugetPass from one card to another under a linked account. This could only be done by issuing a new ORCA altogether. (The same would go for moving E-purse funds as I found out.) The agent also explained that all of the tele-agents were wrong and that they have routinely made promises that are not possible with the ORCA system.
What this meant for me is bruised patience and forfeiting $5 more for a new ORCA card and 3 hours of my time just to get my PugetPass back.
Here are my takeaways:
- The waters are still murky on who is right about fare product transfer on same account registered cards from a damaged one to a reserve card.
- The inconsistency is incredibly trying and disenchanting to the patron because a lack of confidence quickly builds up.
- If the type of transfer as described above is in fact possible, there is little reason why a transfer cannot be done over the phone considerably faster. It should be within 24 hours, not a week or more; otherwise, what is the point of having a monthly PugetPass?
- The ORCA website should be amended to accommodate such fare product transfers to be processed without having to issue new cards. Patrons do not need to have more ORCAs; card proliferation is cumbersome and a needless expense in time and money.