During a joint city/county council meeting dealing with transit last week, freshman Seattle City Councilmember Rob Johnson raised a good point: Fare enforcement officers have been giving warnings to pay, and encouraging riders to get an ORCA card and use it, but have not been giving out free ORCA cards.
.@CMRobJohnson asks for Fare Enforcement Officers to carry extra ORCA cards and hand them out to people instead of writing tickets.
— Seattle Transit Blog (@SeaTransitBlog) March 29, 2016
The primary excuse for charging for the card is to make sure riders don’t treat them as disposable. I don’t think giving away ORCA cards to each rider being given a warning to pay counts as encouraging that rider to treat the card as disposable. Sound Transit and Metro still haven’t given a good answer as to why the cards cost $5, as opposed to $2-3 to merely cover what the vendor charges.
Thank you, Councilmember Johnson, for bringing this common-sense idea forward.
While they are at it, fare enforcement officers could give out the ORCA LIFT (low-income ORCA) brochures, since a substantial portion of those getting warnings qualify, and the train goes within a couple blocks of the Public Health office on S Jackson St, just east of Metro’s headquarters.
I have ridden a bunch of trains in the past couple weeks, mostly for research purposes, and have yet to see any of the brochure racks stocked with ORCA LIFT brochures. Granted, they are out-of-date, with no mention that ORCA LIFT is now honored on ST Express and Sounder. The simple solution is to keep stocking Link with the old brochures, and stock ST Express and Sounder with new brochures. If ST wants to hold off on that print run until the current supply is almost exhausted, making the brochures available on the Link racks will enable that to happen faster.