The ORCA regional fare coordination system has reached Full System Acceptance, meaning it is now ready for changes and additions. The ORCA card is now used by 3 out of every 5 transit riders in the Puget Sound region daily. According to Community Transit’s blog, “additions to the system can be made, whether it be new agencies coming on board, new products offered or new functionality for the ORCA cards.”
The Joint Board, which is composed of executives from the seven transit agencies participating in ORCA, will begin to look at possible changes and additions to the system. Feedback from the recently conducted customer survey is likely to be the starting point for discussion. They have seen preliminary results and are interested in the public’s response. The next ORCA Joint Board meeting will be held next Monday, January 9, from 10:30 am to noon in King Street Center’s 8th floor conference center. It is a public meeting so they will take comments from the public at the beginning of the meeting.
Other than improving the website, there are no specific changes or additions to functionality that I have been able to gather from transit officials but there is a new way for agencies to join the ORCA system. Sound Transit’s Geoff Patrick explains:
The Joint Board has approved an ‘Affiliates’ option where another agency can come in under the sponsorship of a current ORCA agency. We currently have the Port of Kingston, sponsored by Kitsap Transit. Intercity Transit is considering becoming an Affiliate, sponsored by Pierce Transit.
I’ve obtained the latest statistics on the ORCA system which will be presented and discussed in a future post.