37% of ORCA sales from vending machines occurred at Westlake Station

As Metro evaluates fare simplification, one thing is clear: getting more riders to use ORCA would be a win.  ORCA speeds up boarding times and makes for more efficient bus service. Unlimited ORCA passes, such as PugetPass and the employer-provided Passport, make people more likely to use transit, by reducing the marginal cost of a trip to $0.

Yet 29% of Metro riders currently pay cash.  How might we reduce that number? Eliminating cash altogether, as London has done, is one option.  A cash surcharge, as Brent has discussed, is another.  Reducing the $5 card fee is a third, which we have long advocated for and which KC Exec Constantine is proposing as part of his overall fare-simplification scheme. Metro’s mobile ticketing app may also help.

But there’s a simple, proven way to get more ORCA cards out in the world, reducing cash payments: install more ticket vending machines (TVMs).

Currently the main ways to get an ORCA card – if you’re out and about downtown – is from a partner business (such as Bartell Drugs) or* from a TVM.  TVMs are located at Link and Sounder stations as well as a half-dozen suburban park-and-rides.

But there are no vending machines at the busy bus stops in greater downtown.  Aside from the Union Station / International District Station area there are no street-level TVMs downtown at all.   You have to know to go underground to a tunnel station (which soon won’t have any more buses) or across the street to the drug store (which entails leaving the bus stop and perhaps getting stuck in a checkout line). A vending machine at the bus stop would be a superior solution.

(Consider that just 35 TVM locations generate three times as much ORCA revenue as all 100+ retail locations).

Metro knows that vending machines are in short supply.  When the Ride Free Area was eliminated a few years ago, their mitigation report suggested adding vending machines to downtown bus stops as a time-saving measure.

According to Sound Transit, TVMs cost $58,000 each (not including maintenance).  Putting 20 of them downtown would cost just over a million dollars.  To put that in perspective, Metro estimates that buses spend over a million hours a year at the bus stop while passengers get on and off — an annual cost of $150 million.  If a couple dozen ORCA vending machines reduce dwell time by a single percentage point, they will have easily paid for themselves in the first year of use.

With ORCA2 on the horizon, it’s understandable that agencies are reluctant to invest big money in TVMs right now. And certainly street-level TVMs would be subject to substantial wear and tear.  But if One Center City is truly the all-hands-on-deck emergency that it’s being promoted as, then increasing TVM deployment ought to be part of the discussion.

Update 9:09PM: Upon re-reading the list of ORCA retail locations, it turns out you can’t even buy an ORCA card at a downtown retail establishment. Even more reason to add TVMs!

65 Replies to “Making it Easier to Get an ORCA Card”

  1. Thanks, Frank. How the County has avoided this for eight years is beyond comprehension. Talk about penny-wise pound-foolish management.

    I don’t however, see why ORCA2 matters. There’s a standard size for credit cards worldwide, so the second generation “Whale of a card!” is likely to be the same dimensions as the first. The software will doubtless need to be upgraded, but won’t the mechanical parts serve as well?

    1. If you get more machines with an old design when you’re about to decide on a new design that may be better, you’re stuck with a lot of old machines. It’s not just the software but the hardware characteristics: the size and shape of the chassis, what kind of screens and buttons in front, what features to include. The existing machines may be OK in an ORCA2 world, but they may not be as good as ORCA2 machines designed for it.

      1. Mike,

        Yes, you’re probably correct. So when ORCA2 arrives at the turn of the next millenium, replace the decrepit, barely functional ORCA 1 in the high-volume locations which the sexy new ORCA2 hotrods.

        And then put the decrepit, barely functional — but useful — old ORCA 1’s in places with less traffic. We do that with buses right now.

    2. There’s a parallel with Sounder. The regulations against DMUs have been recently relaxed. DMUs are much lighter and less expensive and accelerate better than battleship-heavy locomotive trains. They allow running more routes more frequently in corridors that were never considered practical before. ST’s Sounder fleet is pretty new so it won’t scrap them for a couple decades. Because of that, it can’t take advantage of emerging train technologies now. If it had bought more trains for ST2 (which it didn’t have to because a spokesman told me several years ago that it already had enough trains), then it would be similar to the situation with the TVMs. getting even more of the old kind of trains.

      1. It’s not so simple. Running different trains does not suddenly equate to more frequency. There are capacity considerations, because this board needs to remember that just because Sounder is a thing does not mean that those tracks are Sound Transit’s property.

      2. Seating capacity’s are also vastly different. a conventional locomotive hauled Sounder consist can seat over 1200 people, whereas a typical DMU is in the range of 200 people. At peak nearly all of Sounder South’s Seating capacity is used so it would make no sense to replace this equipment with DMUs during the off peak. North sounder may be able to use DMUs, displacing the locomotives and handful of cars to supplement service on the South Line. However, it takes away some flexibility in being able to modify consists to handle passenger loads. Just because you can do all these things still does not mean the BNSF will allow you to run mid-day, week night, or weekend sounder either. That’s a whole another can of worms.

    3. The article says that a 1% reduction in total system dwell time would pay for the machines in one year. The huge loads of passengers traipsing by the farebox on Third Avenue in the current PAYE system is the only nexus at which such a reduction might occur. If nothing else, put one at each RapidRide station downtown for starters.

      And it’s been eight years! Hello, that’s a foregone ROI of 800%.

      Comparing $1 million for 25 card vending machines with $10 million dollar Sprinters is a stretch. If you use that logic nothing ever gets upgrade, because something better next year might come down the pike.

      1. Grant, that 800% is only capital costs. I’m sure there would be costs for maintenance, too, which would reduce the ROI. But still, any manager in a private company the size of Metro who left a 100% annual return on a measly $1 million investment unmade would be bounced.

      2. OK, the RapidRiders already are off-board. But the station are still the best place to put the machines. They have electricity and have big signs that people know are for transit.

      3. I’d think twice about placing anything at a RapidRide stop.
        Already the feral city dwellers have vandalized and incapacitated card readers.
        I can marine the delight the’d take with a ticket/card vending machine.

      4. FWIW,

        Are people in Seattle so much more vicious than those in Portland? To hear the right-wing kooks here in Vancouver tell it, the super-predators stalking every Crime Train are unsurpassed.

        The reason I ask is that Tri-Met has a pair of ticket vending machines at every MAX station and in a dozen years riding the Yellow and Blue lines I’ve never seen one vandalized. Do they quit regularly? Yes, but that’s probably because they have Windows XP computers in them.

      5. A 100% ROI means you’ve paid off your initial investment. And the figures mentioned above does not include installation (Land acquisition, heavy construction costs for installation of conduit for power and data, etc.) or ongoing maintenance and connectivity costs. However, just because you can get over a 100% ROI over a x year timeframe does not mean you actually have that money sitting there waiting to be spent, typically such programs have to go through several layers of budget, planning, and permitting process that are not totally apparent to many on this board. Any one of those steps could easily kill off any kind of project, good or bad.

      6. Mr. Z. There is already electricity to every RapidRide stop. That’s why I said “put the stations there”, even though technically speaking, RR stops don’t badly need them because they have off-board payment and ticket machines.

        And your other objections about budgets and what not are certainly true for a one year winodw. Over the eight years that ORCA has been around it is ridiculous argument!

  2. I think you’re right on Frank, more TVMs are necessary. Desperately. Just as Trimet needs more HOP vending machines – like outside the Portland International Airport & the Portland Amtrak Station, Sound Transit & CO need a lot more places to get an ORCA card.

    Methinks good spots for the Sound Transit District would be park & rides that lack them for starters. Then some in the regions’ downtowns. Start there.

    1. From what I remember, HOP won’t have availability at their TMVs for a couple years. It’s only at select retailers and Trimet/Portland Streetcar Customer Service Offices. And even then it sounded like they won’t be selling cards out of the machines, just tickets.

      1. It’s hard to say “select retailers”. It’s every Fred Meyer, every Safeway, and every Walgreens in the Tri-Met and C-Tran service areas.

        Seriously. ST should call Tri-Met like Monday and do an in-depth analysis to see if Hop is flexible enough to handle all the different agencies’ fare oddities. It is designed to be multi-agency, and C-Tran’s “local” fares are accommodated, so perhaps they can swallow their “we’re Seattle, center of the programming universe” pride and “Not Invented Here” and contract for Hop.

        I do agree with Joe that they need to have some way to vend them at the Airport.

  3. So, with this “ORCA 2” coming out, what happens with my old ORCA cards? I have three – one per person, since you can’t pay for multiple people on Sounder or Link with a single card. How long do I have? Do I need to just sell my cards, including the balance, to somebody who might use it up? Or will the old cards continue to work or Metro offer free replacements?

    1. The link above to the ORCA 2 rollout says they’re coming in 2020. So you have awhile yet to decide how to handle them. (Someone please correct me if I’m wrong.)

    2. It will have to be announced months in advance and have an exchange/balance transfer period if the millions of existing cards are incompatible. Maybe both readers will be in place for a whole. I recall New York turnstiles have multiple readers and one seemed years-deprecated so I wondered if anyone still used it. How have other cities handled a transition?

      In any case, you don’t have to worry now, as long as you don’t put five year’s worth of e-purse on it ahead of time. I have a monthly pass so I just keep $5-10 on it for occasional sir barges and Sounder/ferry trips. If I didn’t have a pass I couldn’t see myself putting more than $50 at a time — enough for a month or two. I used to keep a second card for visitors with $5 on it, but I’ve long since given it away or lost it.

      1. I know it’s just a typo, but “sir barges” got an LOL!

        Barge: “Open the gates!”

        Dam: “Yes, sir!”

  4. I will give up paying by cash, $1 senior fare, when I completely understand how Orca works. And I do have an idle card. If I tap on at a street machine and say, my no. 8 doesn’t arrive for 20 minutes, is that 20 minutes deducted from my 2 hour ride time? I happen to love paper transfers which are so easy to use multiple times.
    And, guys, the elimination of the 99 is not a minor change, it’s horrific!
    We lost the waterfront trolley, then the regular routes which ran along 1st to downtown, and now are losing the 99.
    The 1st Ave center city connector is of no use to us in north Belltown. Metro officials should be made to do the hike up from Western to 3rd. We are not all young, energetic millenials.

    1. My impression is that buses on the waterfront is the city’s replacement 99 plan for Belltown.

      I hear there is a movement downtown to extend the streetcar to LQA through belltown you could join if that is important to you.

      Another option is you could talk to your city and county council members about restoring some kind of bus service sooner instead.

      There ought to be more Belltown service, but locals need to be vocal about it for anything to happen.

    2. Bus service is leaving only during construction. The waterfront will have something afterward and it may be called 99, but what form it will be we don’t know yet. The waterfront transit study recommended a battery-powered bus or minibus. Also, it may be of interest to you, it suggests an optional extension on Broad Street from Alaskan Way to Seattle Center.

      First Avenue will have the CCC. it could have a bus too although I don’t think it’s in Metro’s long term plan. The exclusive streetcar lanes are designed to accommodate buses too, in case they’re desired in the future.

      1. Mike, I’m really concerned about getting up that hill during construction. I’m sure construction will last at least a couple years. What will people do during that time if they can’t handle the hill?

        (In my case, I can probably just use the ferry to get to West Seattle and not even worry about 3rd Ave buses. But others who are going elsewhere and have problems with hills are not so lucky.

    3. >If I tap on at a street machine and say, my no. 8 doesn’t arrive for 20 minutes, is that 20 minutes deducted from my 2 hour ride time?
      You wouldn’t do this, because the 8 (and all other buses except for the red RapidRides) requires you to pay at the reader on the bus. In the event that you are riding something that requires prepayment (RapidRide or Link), yes, your 2 hour transfer period starts from the time you tap on.

      >I happen to love paper transfers which are so easy to use multiple times.
      You know what this is called? It’s called “fare evasion.” The fact that Metro continues to let you and every other fare cheating scumbag with a book of paper transfers get away with this is a slap in the face to honest people who pay their fare every time.

      1. It’s not “fare evasion” if the transfer is used within the 2 hour window.
        The ORCA transfer even works seamlessly between Metro and SoundTransit/Link within the time limits.
        I just wish they’d have widened those transfer windows to 2.5 hours to cover Metro’s increasingly spotty service. At least the services I use.

      2. ” your 2 hour transfer period starts from the time you tap on.” I don’t tap until I see the bus coming. Then I get the whole two hours.
        As an aside, I love my ORCA card, but as a person with older, white person privilege, when I used to have a paper transfer, if you just waved it in front of the driver, he/she always accepted it. Not so with ORCA!! It actually keeps track of when you paid & doesn’t give you any extra time just because you seem like such a nice person. Oh well.

      3. FWIW –

        Oh, there’s nothing wrong with using your *valid* paper transfer multiple times in a 2 hour window if your trip demands it. Deborah, if this is what you meant by “multiple times”, then I apologize for misinterpreting your comment, and also would like to extend you my deepest condolences for having to transfer that many times in a single trip.

        Where the real “multiple times” magic of paper transfers comes in is saving them and using them to board the bus long after they’ve expired. There are twitter accounts and facebook groups dedicated to facilitating this type of fare evasion by posting the color and letter of that day’s Metro bus transfer so that fare cheating scumbags can simply pick the right one out of their collection and ride without paying. This is what I (perhaps prematurely) assumed Deborah meant. The ease of exploiting paper transfers is a bug, not a feature.

      4. Paper transfers expire variously around two to four hours depending on when the driver sets the cutter — they tend to be long at the beginning of long runs or interlined runs. You can use a transfer as many times as you want during this period, even for a round trip, officially. After 9pm transfers are cut for all night, which includes the first run the next morning.

        This is part of the people’s resistance to switching to ORCA: the fact that the transfer window is shorter. ORCA LIFT, the low income program, was created partly in response to this.

      5. Geez Pat, I’m appalled by your obnoxious comment. Also, I’m not aware of anything that says the transfer window is limited to a “single trip.” I often get two or more trips from a single fare, within the transfer window. (Errand at Point A, on to point B, back to starting location.) Does that make me a “fare cheating scumbag” as well?

      6. Geez Ken, I said there’s nothing wrong with using your valid transfer as many times as you want in the transfer window. Back before I started getting a monthly pass, I would often be able to get my ride home covered by the ORCA transfer after quick errands. That’s not fare evasion, that’s just the way the transfer system is set up.

        That doesn’t change the fact that paper transfers enable rampant fare evasion and should have been abolished years ago.

    4. Deborah, I can certainly understand where you’re coming from about the hill between 1st and 3rd Avenue! Anyone with mobility issues, and many older people, may have trouble with this. I’m dreading that they’ll take away the 62, which I now catch after work on 1st and Yesler and ride to 3rd Ave. to catch buses to West Seattle. I’m afraid that during the CCC construction time, they’ll end up changing the 62 to run on 3rd all the way. There is no way i’ll be able to get up that hill. There is one escalator I can use to get to 2nd Ave., but there’s still a steep hill between there and 3rd. And since the Rapid Ride C, 55 and 21 Express will no longer be stopping at 2nd and Columbia, I’ll have to go to 3rd.

      1. Moderators – please remove my two posts if they’re off-topic. Sorry about that. I should have posted on the previous entry about this.

  5. Put.

    It’s been “pending replacement” for a year now. How about 19 machines in downtown and one in Northgate?

    1. And in the vicinity of Convention Place. The TVM there was removed a couple months back… and I’ve been doing cash ever since.

    2. It’s Back! Saw one there the other day after a looooong absence.
      That transit is getting less and less pleasant every time I use it. Used to be an ok place to transfer, with a snack bar and good coffee.

    1. I assume that a machine that produces and loads (and re-loads) physical cards is much more complicated than a machine that prints paper tickets.

      1. I wonder if anyone here knows how much CTA pays for their Ventra card tvm’s. Is that part of their contract with Cubic or an independent expenditure through a separate vendor contract?

        I believe here the ILA with ST as the lead agency signed an $8+ million contract (with a 20% contingency, so not to exceed $10+ million) if all five years are exercised up to 2021 with Four Nines. That’s just the consulting and management fees of course and doesn’t include the equipment/software vendor contract, such as the one previously awarded to ERG/Vix Technology.

        Anyone here who is more familiar with the costs of the Ventra machines in Chicago?

      2. One “feature” of the Ventral cards was their tie-in with Chase bank as a debit card. That annoyed me.

  6. A few years back we took a trip to Portland. Before we left Seattle, I downloaded the TriMet app on my phone, added money to my account, and when we got to Portland we just stepped on the MAX using my phone/app as payment. So easy, so simple – everything taken care of before I left. Can ORCA eventually have a system like that?

  7. Frank, can you do me a favor?

    I just ran over my calculator when I peeled out chasing my dog to get back my Transit Accounting final before he chews it up. So can you bring up cost of one minute a transit vehicle (bus and train both, if you can) is stopped when it should be moving? Many thanks.

    GRRRRR! yourself, you mangy fleabag! Gimme my hard drive back! You’re lucky the whole publishing industry’s gone digital, ’cause I can’t find my last “New Electric Railway Journal” to roll up and whop you with!

    (Not you, Frank. You’re doing great.)

    Mark Dublin

  8. I still get a sense that ORCA is thought of as a convenience and that cash is still preferred. It’s almost as if operators want to make getting and using a card as limited as possible and it’s so culturally ingrained that changing the unspoken approach is difficult.

    It’ll take a basic shift in attitude by the operators that ORCA is preferred. A new machine here and there is nice but it will be a hard-fought, very tiny victory with each new one unless it’s part of a broader direction.

    More machines is great and a no-brainer — but a more basic change in attitude is needed. We also need more readers and more strategies to elevate making ORCA more popular than it already is. We need card readers that don’t have the same beep for tapping both on and off. To get changes , we need more elected officials to say things today just aren’t good enough. They need to repeatly declare and provide oversight using those three little words “ORCA is preferred.”

    1. …yes, all kinds of changes to the design. Roll the complexities uphill to the organization instead of downhill to the customer. Print out the word “youth” on the youth card and don’t make me do this whole mailing a birth certificate in to get a card for a six year old. Perhaps advertise on the bus that you can buy an Orca at Bartell’s? Quit charging $5.

      Offer some incentive for trips that don’t include a transfer to Link – max daily fare, slightly smaller fare.

  9. People would adjust if Metro just implemented ORCA at midnight on such-and-such day. Necessity seems to quickly focus attention, especially when the difficulty level is near zero. I feel like the only reason paper transfers and cash payment still exist as options are that they provide an easy way to cheat the system. And, I suspect the Transit Riders Union (and probably others), in a meeting with Metro, would shamelessly say cashless transactions and the ensuing abolition of paper transfers would make it too difficult for their constituents to evade fare payment.

    The majority of what creates a much better level of service between ST (especially Link) vs Metro is the threat of fare enforcement.

    1. Felsen, I think that the way most of will increasingly travel now, an ORCA All Day pass should be our smallest basic fare unit. Notice that LINK offers a Day Pass for only twice the cost of a single ride.

      For me, a monthly pass with $25 e-Purse makes the most sense. I left off transit driving 25 years ago this last July. Since then, Metro, and then Sound Transit have sold me 266 of them. I much prefer them to cash for time-saved, theft prevented, and fewer holes worn through pants pockets.

      But absolutely most important, knowing that I had already paid the system every possible dime I’d ever owe it for a month, I’d never have to worry about being cited for non-payment. Clinical memory loss not funny now. Thanks to ORCA, though I’ve never been fined, I’ve been ID’d and threatened twice since the program started.

      Both times, same reason. Tapped on. As 100% usual. But twice, forgot to tap off. Putting my dutiful voluntarily cooperating, heartily advocated tap on into the category of theft of service. Same charge, same punishment. Anybody know where I should have found out that if I hadn’t tapped off, I could have legally ridden for two hours with no limit of de-boardings, like the dinner that got me nailed this last time?

      From what I’m told, the cards operate according to an agreement between Sound Transit and a private company to apportion fare revenue, to the penny, between not only separate agencies, but with Sound Transit three divisions, Sounder, ST Express, and LINK. Full details to follow.

      But meantime, since I really do value electronic fare collection…worth a couple dollars’ extra Protection. If ya get my drift. Clear plastic card-sized plastic envelope for card. First boarding, add a paper All-Day Pass, faced outward. Since only good between station bought and opposite terminal, if I board at, say, IDS, I have to buy two, for Angle Lake and UW respectively.

      All Agencies’ buses are fine, as always. And since I still register once for two hours of tap-free travel, as ORCA has always confidentially allowed, LINK doesn’t lose a penny. Fare Inspection, whom I’ve always found polite and professional, and who feel same way I do about current set-up…they’re ok too. Court gets some slack too. Grand Canyon of a downside? Stay tuned.

      So Felsen, thin skin, maybe, but I’d appreciate some Truth in Tongue Flopping. I belong to the Transit Riders’ Union, though my address ruins meeting attendance. Could be out of the loop. Single TRU quote, printed or overheard, advocating ORCA-card or any other illegal fare avoidance, tell us right now so I can head for Angle Lake and grab LINK to the Valley of the Shadow. Paper passes and all.

      And my own word to ST and its private partner: Whatever its faults, the United States Government only issues widely available bills and coins. Whose honestly-intended use doesn’t result in prosecution. Follow its example and your only problem will be getting those machines installed, your screens clean, and and information that doesn’t require four years of college debt to comprehend. Your cause is right. Start living up to it.

      Mark Dublin

  10. They even removed the TVM at the Convention Center station. I often filled my ORCA there, and that station can be quicker heading into town than waiting for the Westlake slog.

    By the way, in addition to the stupid 24-48 hour lag time if you load money online, ST (or KC) codes the sale as a mail order sale instead of transit, so if you have a credit card that gives a bonus for transit, you don’t get the bonus if you load online. WS-DOT does this properly for Good-to-Go. Can someone get ST or Metro to fix this for online ORCA loads? (e.g. Chase Sapphire card)

  11. If TVM’s are too expensive, how about this? Every bus driver carries a stack of Orca cards pre-loaded with $12.25(*) on them. Anyone who wants an Orca simply needs to board a bus, drop a $20 bill into the farebox, and bus driver hands him back a shiny new card, pre-scanned for free transfer credit for the next two hours.

    There are several things I like about this scheme:
    1) Every bus driver becomes an Orca vendor, and every bus stop becomes a place where you can buy an Orca card – not just downtown.

    2) No large, up-front machinery costs. Just new signs at the farebox and bus stops advertising the feature.

    3) Cash riders who lack the proper change suddenly have an option to use the service without grossly overpaying (at least, if they intend on ever riding Puget Sound transit again). Today, if you want to ride a bus, but your wallet only has 20’s, you are SOL.

    (*) $20 (cash deposit) – $5 (card fee) – $2.75 (fare for current trip) = $12.25 initial balance. Yes, this would be a much better deal if the $5 card fee could be reduced or eliminated.

    1. One interesting question is what effect such a scheme would have on boarding delays. In theory, inserting a $20-bill and getting back an Orca card shouldn’t take any longer than inserting 2 one’s and 3 quarters and getting back a paper transfer. Plus, the passenger finishes the transaction with an Orca card, which means the next time he rides, he’s going to be an Orca payer, not a cash payer.

      The tradeoff of course, is if it leads to a world where lots of tourists who haven’t seen an Orca card before hold up the bus with questions for the bus driver about how to use it. Hopefully, this won’t be too bad of a problem.

      1. asdf2, ST and KCMetro marketing should get with airlines, travel agencies, hotels, and business associations to include an online packet with every Seattle-bound ticket with full description of the program, and maybe a Day Pass on the card. Which can be picked up at the airport on landing, or “App’ed” into a phone.

        And an ST instigated Social Media war routinely sucking in a billion people fighting on both sides, but the whole thing still advertising the cards. YouTube watchers- as a charter member, not kidding about this, after finding out how to change the air filter on my car-while also listening to music from the 1970’s, which shone even more than the men’s fashions sucked.

        Great time to Run it Like A Business, too. Will soon be a lot of low cost office vacancies a short SLU Streetcar ride from Westlake Station.


      2. Building on the original idea, every downtown hotel front desk should have a small stack of these ORCA cards.

        If there’s a worry that the tourist will throw the card away, there should be a small recycle bin where the cards can be stripped of data and reloaded. Especially at the SeaTac Link station.

      1. Add TVM function to the farebox. Driver pushes button, card comes out a slot. But considering cost of minute’s delay, whatever it is, just leave the dispenser off the bus and the driver out of it.

        But criminals’ perspective different now. How much cocaine am I gonna get for an ORCA card? And from the other side, how’s an honest international drug cartel going to know we’re not getting a fake card?

        Or even worse: If the card’s already been tapped on before it comes out of the dispenser, how are we gonna know that Fare Inspection reading won’t leave our required day’s collections in default?

        If Norway had a Vårt Hus, (Google Translate can’t do “Don Vito Corleone”) people of Ballard extraction would understand the real-world consequences of Da Man failing to find the contractually-specified $124 among the day’s receipts.

        But mainly, from both drivers an passengers, iPhones are a lot more fungible. And by allowing Open Carry, the Second Amendment now relieves the burden of pickpocket’s wages.

        Watches? You know, some of us reverence the days when a single fine time-piece gave you the rest of the week off. Now, comes with the iPhone. New Yorker Magazine lists an exception, but since nobody can even find the hands on a Breguet watch, you get more for a transfer out of a solar powered recycle bin.


  12. How much did SDOT spend on those streetcar-only vending machines and why weren’t they ORCA TVMs? That would have added several street level TVMs downtown, Pioneer Square, SLU, First Hill and Capitol Hill.

    1. The streetcar may have started before ORCA. I don’t remember exactly, it was in the 00’s. Before the ORCA readers the inspectors treated the presence of an ORCA card as a paid fare.

  13. Whenever I stand in nearly any checkout line, I see a rack of gift cards that the checker can load for you – 25-200$. Why not vend ORCA cards that way from anywhere, not just QFC?

    1. There is some kind of back end connectivity involved to validate and load gift cards that ORCA does not have.

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