- An $8 Regional Day Pass for adult riders valid for unlimited rides on services with fares up to $3.50
- A $4 Regional Day Pass for ORCA Regional Reduced Fare Permit (RRFP) cardholders (seniors and riders with disabilities) valid for unlimited rides on services with fares up to $1.75. (At this time there is no youth or low income day pass product.)
The new options are intended to make it easier for tourists and visitors to use transit while in town. Local residents can also purchase day passes, which are available where ORCA cards are sold and revalued. Options include ticket vending machines, retail outlets, customer service offices, online, by mail and by phone. The launch of a permanent day pass program follows a pilot project conducted in 2014.
Bruce’s critique from last year is still mostly applicable (though the cost has been reduced from $9 to $8 an the max fare is now $3.50, down from $4). As the press release makes clear, this product is aimed squarely at tourists who aren’t going very far. While you can add to the e-purse for higher fares, the $3.50 number (after all the squirrelly inter-agency revenue share has been accounted for) signals that this probably isn’t the product for you if you need Sounder or an Express Bus.
If the Monorail were to accept ORCA, it could be a more compelling offer for tourists who would have likely blown a few bucks on that separately from their transportation spend. More importantly, in an era where travelers are increasingly cashless, providing a day pass that can be acquired by credit card is convenient, even if it might be cheaper to pay for each fare in cash.
For locals, however, the pas is expensive unless you already have an ORCA card. Fortunately, the agencies are considering reducing the $5 ORCA card fee, which would make the day pass more competitive.