It has come to my attention that even some STB staffers and commenters with kids and some who qualify for the senior-citizen ORCA were unaware they could order regular, youth, and senior ORCA cards via postal mail. Given that reality, it is unreasonable to expect that the general public knows this option exists. And so, today, I offer a public service announcement.
If you have kids 6-18, and they don’t qualify for a youth ORCA through the public school system or any other program, you can fill out this form, include age verification (copy of a student ID, a driver’s license, a state ID, or a birth certificate) and a $5 check, and mail them to the address listed on the form.
Likewise, any of you trying to get a senior (65+) ORCA just have to fill out the front side of this form, include a copy of one of the following — your state ID or driver’s license, your birth certificate, your passport, or any state or federal document that contains your name and date of birth — then mail these and the $3 check to:
201 S Jackson St
Seattle, WA 98104-3856
Getting a regular full-fare ORCA is even easier. Fill out the form, include a check for $5, and mail it. You can also order the regular ORCA card online, or buy one at many locations all over King, Pierce, Snohomish, and Kitsap County.
For those trying to get a disabilities ORCA, a little more work is involved. You will need a Medicare card or proof of disability,
$5 , and will need to go to one of the sites where the transit agencies sell all pass types. For Metro, that means visiting the King Street Center at 201 S. Jackson St between the hours of 8:30 and 4:30 on a regular business day (i.e. a weekday that is not a holiday).
For those who qualify for the ORCA LIFT (the low-income card), you will need to take income-verification documentation to one of the several sites that vet people for income qualification and give out LIFT ORCA cards. The LIFT ORCA is free. The fare is not.
If you are considering which card to get, the disabilities and senior ORCA (also known as the Regional Reduced Fare Permit) gets you the cheapest fare on all services that accept ORCA. The youth or LIFT ORCA get the same fare as each other, wherever LIFT is accepted (currently Metro, Kitsap Transit, Link Light Rail, the South Lake Union Streetcar, and the King County Water Taxis). However, the youth ORCA gets you a discounted fare on all services that accept ORCA. A complete list of current fares for all payer categories is here.