Customer-facing launch phases for next generation ORCA
Current ORCA, today
New website and mobile app, early 2022, new app and website
More payment options, Late 2022, new card, tap to pay with phone, new vending machines, readers, and retailers
Retire current card, 2023 or later
Sound Transit Rider Experience & Operations Committee, 5/9/21

Sound Transit announced that the long awaited upgrade to ORCA, the Puget Sound’s regional fare collection system, will launch in phases beginning in early 2022.

The next generation system will introduce many new conveniences. Card reloads will be instantaneous. There will be more than double the retail locations to buy and reload cards, a much improved website with better account management, and a new mobile app that will allow tap-to-pay using a phone.

The first phase is the launch of a new website,, and a new myORCA mobile app for managing accounts in early 2022. Existing cards and equipment will continue to function as normal.

Accounts on the old site will not transfer over to the new site so registered cardholders will have to create a new account. The launch of the new website marks the switchover to the next generation backend system, which means new or replacement adult cards will drop in price from $5 to $3.

By late 2022, the next generation ORCA card will be available through the usual channel, including an expanded retail network, and mobile app users can skip the physical card and tap their smartphone to pay.

Next generation ORCA card being tapped on a reader with new logo
Dennis Budell/Sound Transit

Next generation ORCA also introduces a fresh new look for the brand, designed in house at Sound Transit by Dennis Budell. The colors selected “represent the natural colors of an orca as well as the vibe of Puget Sound”. The new card design is orca black with splashes of seafoam green, misty blue, yellow, and orange, replacing the blue with rainbow ribbons of the old card. The ORCA logo itself is streamlined with rounder text and a more stylized fin that looks like a curved arrow tracing the path of a leaping orca.

Installation of new card readers is underway, with mounts for the new readers appearing on buses, some even at the back door of RapidRide coaches. New ticket machines are also being delivered. Old cards and equipment will be retired after 2023 as they reach the end of their life.

68 Replies to “Next Generation ORCA Begins Next Year”

  1. Do we know if the tap-to-pay options will require an app be open or if they’ll just use the transit payment systems built into the mobile operating systems?

    1. The app will create a virtual card that uses iOS or Android’s built-in transit payment system. Once set up and loaded with fare value, just tap to pay anytime without needing to bring up the app or unlock the device.

      Los Angeles’ TAP card launched that feature recently. It was quick and easy to transfer the value from my old card into a new virtual card on my phone.

      1. Great! I hoped that would be the case. That should be really useful for visitors especially.

      2. Using pay by phone or credit cards allows third-party middlemen to charge a large commission which comes out of fare revenue. Tapping ORCA also has a commission, but at least it’s the vendor the transit agencies have chosen and have negotiated with for a lower bulk rate.

      3. To be clear, the feature mentioned is *not* the ability to pay with your credit card directly. Open payments is still a future feature. You still need an ORCA card, physical or virtual.

        I assume ORCA website and app will use the same payment processor so the fees will still be low compared to open payment.

      4. On the other hand, not having open payment makes it difficult for tourists. If they don’t know how much transit they need to ride, they would have to open the app and load money every time before they ride to avoid unused money left in card.

      5. Hopefully the new ORCA app will make the existing $8 regional day pass much more visible and easier to purchase. An unlimited day pass option is more appealing to visitors who don’t want to think about balances and transfer windows.

      6. Yeah, I was finally able to successfully use a regional day pass on my (escape 117°Portland) visit a couple weeks ago. I had to buy it two days ahead of time, and get by on one ORCA while the pass order got processed on the other.

        Instant transactions that TriMet’s hop card have are nice. I’ve been able to load money onto the card just before boarding (and a couple times after boarding).

  2. I really like the design of the new card. I’m probably gonna go with the smartphone anyhow when I can, but it looks great and I’ll probably carry one as a backup.

  3. Instantaneous reload (plus registration) also has the added benefit of contact tracing should another respiratory outbreak occur. Do you think it would make the most sense to introduce a zone-based fare for Link in the future? I hate reading a chart and seeing whether I add $0.25 or more to my fare.

    1. Under the current system if you register the card it saves your tap history in your account.

      Zone-based fares are unfair to those who live near the zone boundary. Metro used to have two zones at the Seattle city limits, so people traveling from 155th to 130th or from White Center to West Seattle were charged two zones. All of Shoreline is within two miles of the Seattle border. ST had county zone boundaries, so a trip from downtown to Federal Way or Woodinville cost less than a trip from Federal Way to Tacoma Dome.

      it’s not that hard to get used to a distance-based system. Most people think about it from Westlake, so Westlake to Beacon Hill is $2.25, Westlake to Rainier Beach is $2.50, and Westlake to TIB, SeaTac, or Angle Lake is $3.00. In comparison, Metro’s fare is $2.75. If you start from Capitol Hill or UW it may or may not add 25c or 50c. You can just center it on your home station and then you know most of your trips, and compare the distance of any other trip pair. Or if you have a $99 monthly pass with a nominal credit of $2.75, that covers all Link and Metro trips in Seattle, and if you occasionally go to Bellevue or SeaTac or Lynnwood you’re just paying a small surcharge. Before covid I had this pass, and I kept $10 e-purse for surcharges. Now I put $60 a month on the card, and replenish it whenever it gets below $20, and I know what the fares are generally, and I only go outside Seattle a couple times a month, so the costs remain pretty constant without having to worry about a 25c difference all the time. I think more about, “Is this trip worth $2.-00-2.75” than about whether I’m paying 25c more for just one station further.

      1. I think of a distance-based system as a zone centered on your home/work.

        Interestingly, Monterey-Salinas Transit south of the Bay Area is trialing distance-based fares for contactless payment on its buses. It’s not pure pay-by-the-mile, as they grouped the rates to correspond to their existing route-based cash fare categories.

      2. I think we should also consider having a fare discount for short distance trips. It doesn’t seem fare for a wage-earning commuter to pay the same fare for either a 5 mile trip or a 0.7 mile trip. Short distance trips are often made by those not working — or trips not possible when one doesn’t have alternative transportation. Such a fare policy could also be restricted to certain hours to encourage travel when transit is less crowded.

        The more riders using electronic payment, the more options exist for fares to be collected at different amounts. Once a new system is in place, it’s possible to look at a variety of pricing strategies.

      3. The other issue with zone based fares is determining where the lines should be drawn. I live in Denver and RTD’s zone based pricing is somewhat confusing as to what is considered local and regional on the light/commuter rail. Like for example JeffCo Government Center/Golden is considered regional which makes sense with it being out on the far reaches of the metro area, but Belleview is also considered regional even though it’s within the City of Denver.

      4. You also need to be careful to design the fare structures to avoid unintentional incentives for whether people travel on this route or that route. One example of this is those peak-only-single-direction express buses that go from Sounder station to downtown, essentially duplicating the service provided by Sounder, itself.

        Ideally, the buses would be eliminated and people would just take Sounder, but anytime that gets proposed, people complain that the Sounder fare is higher than the bus fare, so eliminating the bus option amounts to a de-facto fare increase. Even though the transit system as a whole would obviously save money by just having the bus riders fill empty seats on the Sounder trains that are running anyway, the duplicative bus still has to run because it’s the only way for our inflexible fare structure to get people on tight budgets downtown for $3 instead of $5.

    2. A zone based system for Link? Absolutely not.

      Zone based systems are dumb, and they are dumb by design. They are used where there is no better technical or logistical way to charge riders fairly. They are an attempt to make long distance riders pay more of their actual cost, but in so doing they penalize short distance riders (and in particular short distance rides across zone boundaries) while over subsidizing long distance riders.

      Distance based fares are much fairer and more equitable. Riders pay based on distance, which is another way of saying that they pay based on how much service they actually use. Nobody riding in the service area gets overcharged or over subsidized, and there is no such issue as a short trip across a zone boundary being penalized.

      Distance based systems can still be a bit granular, but overall they are much fairer and more equitable than zone based systems.

  4. I’ll be happy when I can use the NFC on my phone. I’ve used it when visiting Chicago in pre-2020 trips, and it was a revelation of how easy public transit should be.

  5. I’m glad that the card fee is dropping from $5 to $3. I’m still wondering why the fee isn’t even cheaper or perhaps free.

    I would even be fine if a corporation put advertisements on cards in exchange for paying most or all of this fee. If we can be fine with ads on bus shelters, we can be fine with ads on fare cards.

    1. You need some sort of incentive for people to hold onto their cards for multiple trips. If you make cards $0, people will treat them as disposable, leading to increased manufacturing and distribution costs. Not to mention loads of useless plastic ending up in the waste stream.

      1. I personally agree that there needs to be a small surcharge for getting a new card. I’m simply questioning what that fee should be and whether some of the card cost can be recouped by corporations rather than by riders.

      2. I have no problem with the $5 per card. I hope to live at least another 5 years, so I don’t mind paying $1 per year. And it is actually less since I bought years ago.

        Beer is $7 per pint, so saving by getting a free ORCA card wouldn’t even pay for one beer unless I lived 7 years. I can’t wait that long.

      3. If having useless plastic cards are a concern, then someone needs to tell AARP or the casinos or hotels.

      4. One way to compensate for the card cost is to allow the balance on the card to go below $0, up to the price of the card. TransLink does this.

        For example, right now if I take a $2.75 trip on Link, I have to have at least $3.50 on the card so it can charge me full fare, then credit me when I get off.

        On the Translink system, I could even have $0, and it would allow me to at least take a $2.75 bus trip, with a balance of -2.75 on the card at the end.

    2. I agree that there probably should be a small cost for the card (maybe $1), but there are transit systems where they are completely free. The last time I was in Boston, there were station attendants that just had a rubber-banded wad of cards in their pocket and would hand them out on request.

  6. > Accounts on the old site will not transfer over to the new site

    Why can’t they transfer accounts? WSDOT figured it out with their G2G replacement

    1. That is the same question I have. The technology is there and you have to wonder why Sound Transit can’t transfer the accounts. But then we are talking about Sound Transit.

    2. I don’t know the reason.

      Remember that the current ORCA site is controlled by the current vendor, Vix, while the new site is a completely different system that is controlled by the ORCA consortium. Maybe the current vendor is not playing ball with the user accounts. They haven’t been doing a good job on the website.

      The new myORCA site says that card registration info is preserved even though the website account is not so if you lose your registered card you can get a replacement.

      1. Sound Transit The ORCA consortium/administrator has the transaction history for every card for their own bookkeeping purposes, so I’m not hugely surprised that INIT will be able to import it.

        So otherwise the only things they’d really be transferring are:
        – Username/password*
        – The linkage between username and a particular card
        – Card nicknames
        – Payment info**

        *Hopefully they hashed passwords, making it impossible to know what the actual password is, and upon importing in to the new database they’d require everyone to reset their password.

        **May not be exportable for PCI compliance

    3. I’m guessing that the databases in the old versus the new ORCA will be in different formats/data structures, and developers on each side won’t be familiar with both formats (old ORCA guys may well be long gone!), so it would require an extra layer of contracts and expense. Hmmm….take what WSDOT paid, I’ll offer to do it for half;) Seriously, with the tech talent we have around here, it really shouldn’t be an issue.

      1. I don’t think it’s a tech issue as the rest of the ORCA backend (like the whole database of existing cards, etc.) is being migrated and maybe ORCA has rights over that but somehow not the website accounts. Maybe for some contractual reason the old vendor has no obligation nor incentive to hand over the database for the website. It’s just another reason why next gen ORCA is an open architecture system with the agencies having full control over it.

  7. Should bus fares be collected as a part of the user fees that a homeowner pays for water, sewer and refuse pickup? Rather than manage another account, it would seem more convenient to group all local government user fees in one place for a citizen.

    1. Fortunately buses are free now as they always should have been, or at least the enforcement is so lax that nobody is paying anymore. Or bus drivers are outright refusing to let anyone near the fare box. Last week as 30 people boarded onto the back door of the 21 after a Mariners game I heard someone remark, “I remember when we had to pay to ride the bus.”

      1. ST and Metro could certainly eliminate fares permanently, which eliminates farebox recovery. For Metro farebox recovery is suppose to be 20%, and for light rail 40%. Maybe Metro and ST could do some mock ups to show the reductions in coverage, routes, projects, and frequency due to the loss of farebox recovery if fares are eliminated, which I am sure employers who subsidized employee transit would love.

        Eliminating fares could also help solve the homeless issue by allowing the homeless a warm bus or train to live on. Last time that was tried in the downtown Seattle core commuters objected to the smell and anti-social behavior, and would refuse to stay on the bus when it reached the free zone. If working from home takes hold as some predict commuters won’t need transit, and their farebox recovery will be lost anyway, so why not eliminate fares for those who must take transit, and allow the homeless to live on transit.

      2. It’s a rarely mentioned fact that pre-pandemic, between half and two-thirds of ORCA’s fare revenue came from business accounts and subsidized employee transit.

      3. Homeless people are but a tiny percentage of transit riders. For everybody else, the biggest deterrent to riding is not the fare, but the quality of service.

        Eliminating fares amounts to a 20% service cut. Which means back to virtually every bus route, city wide running half hourly, if not hourly, as early as 7PM every night.

        No thanks. I’d rather have fares and at least sort-of decent service.

        “. If working from home takes hold as some predict commuters won’t need transit, and their farebox recovery will be lost anyway”

        That’s not all commuters, or anything close to it. Even with hybrid work from home models, the employer funded pass provides Metro the same revenue whether the employee comes in 2 days a week or 5. Even many entirely remote employees still have employer funded transit passes (me being an example), and if fares go away, that revenue dries up too.

      4. “Fortunately buses are free now as they always should have been, or at least the enforcement is so lax that nobody is paying anymore.”

        That’s a myth. Fare evasion is around 3%. On any bus route you’ll see many people tapping ORCA or paying cash. Some people do it for moral reasons, others to keep the buses operating, others don’t want the embarrassment of asking for a free ride or walking past the driver, others don’t care about the fare because their employer paid their pass.

        Yes, 20% farebox recovery means you could make buses free by filling in that 20%. But more service is much more critical than free fares; we need to get to a level that transit-oriented cities have. There are limited funding opportunities for this, so we shouldn’t waste the money on free fares prematurely. There are an increasing number of sliding-scale programs for low-income programs and school students who can’t afford the full fare. If there are specific affordability gaps beyond these we can address those in a targeted way.

        Both Metro and ST were free for several months last year duing the covid crisis. That gives one local example of what free fares would be like, although it’s skewed by the “essential trips only” campaign and many things being closed. There was an increase in aimless smelly/crazy people on the bus, but they were still a small fraction of riders. It’s not like all the homeless people went riding around on buses all day, only a few did. Still, it was an increase, and ST said it increased its security costs at stations and to a lesser extent on trains due to bodily substance biohazards and the like.

        Of course, we should aim for a society like Scandinavia or Estonia, where social services provide a floor of shelter and necessities and transit is sometimes free. Then you get the benefits of free transit without turning buses into rolling homeless/mental-service shelters, because they have better places to go.

      5. The one thing not included in these calculations is that federal operating grants apparently increase for systems that don’t charge a fare.

        In smaller cities, this means charging a fare actually reduces their income. At least, that’s what Corvallis, OR said when it looked at charging one a few years ago. The net cost of fare equipment, money processing, and loss of grant money would mean less overall revenue.

        King County Metro is a big enough agency that it might pencil out different.

      6. asdf2, homeless folks may indeed be a small proportion of riders, but they cause a disproportionately large impact on other riders.

        And of course, they occupy most of Daniel’s mindshare.

      7. Getting people onto a crowded bus even without paying fare, and keeping traffic moving, after sportsball events, has probably always been a thing, in my observations. Plenty of fare is being paid at the front. People are standing, and the bus needs to move. Somewhat less during a pandemic, I suppose. FEOs, for their part, are more useful getting riders to wear masks and wear them properly, for the time being.

        Light rail expansion will diminish the (already occasional) post-baseball freebie over time, as fewer buses will be on 4th Ave S or the Busway. Farewell to riding route 41 to the stadia in October. Snohomish County ST Express buses, don’t know, but a ponderance for another post.

        Regardless, the Mariners, Sounders, Seahawks, Kraken, and Storm ought to come up with a deal to bundle transit day passes into their tickets. I don’t see that happening without an appropriate level of government deciding to incentivize it or require it to happen.

  8. “Should bus fares be collected as a part of the user fees that a homeowner pays for water, sewer and refuse pickup? Rather than manage another account, it would seem more convenient to group all local government user fees in one place for a citizen.”

    Would car fees, street parking fees, gas taxes, and road tolls be included in this “fee”? I am sure employers who subsidize transit passes would like this.

    “I think we should also consider having a fare discount for short distance trips. It doesn’t seem fare for a wage-earning commuter to pay the same fare for either a 5 mile trip or a 0.7 mile trip.”

    Mercer Island argued for this when bus fares moved away from zones. Few Islanders take long transit rides, usually to downtown Seattle or Bellevue.

    Metro claimed separate zones were too complicated, and my guess is figured equity should require Islanders to pay more to subsidize the system for others (although I am not sure a rider from Redmond needs a subsidy), which probably makes sense. Usually proximity to urban centers like Seattle and Bellevue result in higher property values and higher incomes, so I am not so sure poor people (including those taking transit to work) take mostly short trips.

    The reality is the higher income brackets tend to not take transit at all, which is why Metro is subsidized 80% and ST 40% (ideally) from general fund taxes, the trick being most folks don’t see just how much transit is subsidized, and when they do I-976 is placed on a ballot. If you started sending transit “fee” statements as part of utility bills (which I am not sure is legal) that a lot of homeowners scour closely to tens of thousands of homeowners who never take transit that might raise some red flags about the existing 20% and 80% transit subsidies.

  9. wait. by not transferring accounts do they mean you can’t transfer any money you’ve loaded onto the old orca card to the new one?

    How about getting a refund of any moneys loaded onto the old orca? I mean it’s my money right?

  10. The silver covered box that is in the lower picture of the “the back door” link of this topic is what I saw on a Rapid Ride. I incorrectly comnented on the 3 day old topic prior to this one that I saw it on a 60 ft Trolley. When I described as having future wiring, that is what I was describing.

  11. I assume this will be a universal system so if I have a next-gen ORCA app on my smartphone it will automatically work at every other US transit agency with next-gen technology as well. Right?

  12. So for those who use regular ORCA cards and TVMs there doesn’t seem to be much change or benefit. It makes me wonder why it’s necessary to replace everybody’s cards. The battery goes dead after several years, but that’s already happened to some cards, and it doesn’t necessarily seem to be a compelling reason for changing everybody’s cards all at once.

  13. ORCA = One Regional Card for All

    I like the redesign, tho. The orange looks like bits of salmon flesh being tossed in the waves as the whales nosh.

  14. I’m delighted NGOrca is coming, and that the card fee is coming down a little, so that it is cheaper than Anchorage and otherwise tied for most expensive transit smart card in the US.

    That said, is the handling of new online accounts really a $3 burden on the system? Maybe it is more. Maybe it is less. If is less, why not incentivize online accounts over plastic pollution by making it cheaper to set up such an account than to get the card?

    If dealing with non-card-based accounts is more expensive on an ongoing basis (e.g. slower to present payment while boarding), then why not make the card fee a little cheaper?

    Either way, ORCA Pod, give us a signal. Which do you prefer we use?

  15. Has there been any talk about allowing the ORCA card to act as low grade electronic payment system for food, etc.? I was really impressed with how I could use my Easycard in Taiwan to both board trains, buses and bike-shares, but also buy food and beverages. (

    They also did something with a bank in Okinawa so that you could use the Easycard there. It would be nice if I could just have one card between Vancouver, Portland and Seattle, just saying.

  16. ORCA Just needs to go away. Tap your credit card just like you do at Grocery Outlet and done. Other cities are way ahead. Why is Seattle/King County such a technology backwater?

    1. Then 50c or more of your fare goes to a third-party credit-card processor instead of the transit agency. Grocery Outlet does it because it hopes to make it up on volume and many transactions are over $10 or $100 where the commission is a smaller percent of the total. Credit cards are like the “free” parking lot at Grocery Outlet: lobbyists have structured society so that the cost is hidden and paid by everybody except the credit-card holder or driver.

      1. It’s not like handling cash doesn’t have expenses associated with it. First you’ve got the platform time of people fumbling for cash. Then someone’s got to sort out the bills, count it, take it to the bank and do all the associated paperwork to make sure nobody is skimming. Then we’ve still got the people who keep a book of old transfers that they reuse instead of ever paying a fare. That all goes away if you issue the paper RFI cards like other agencies do. How much do they spend on ORCA on top of the credit card charges?

      2. With cash the commission goes to the Federal Reserve, and its excess profit goes to the Treasury, and occurs before the money gets in the hands of the rider to pay the fare with. All those handling costs are just the basic cost of doing business, and the money goes to local employees and the local economy, not far-off investors. Cash fumbling is one of the reasons we have ORCA, and even though it charges a transaction fee, it’s lower, the agency chose to work with it, and has negotiated a bulk rate for all ORCA transactions.

      3. Also, the cost of non credit-card transactions is variable and partly under control of the agency. The cost may be less than the credit-card fee, while the credit-card fee has a fixed floor that is high to guarantee investors’ profits. Better boarding procedures can shrink the platform time. Better back-end procedures or contracts can reduce the cost of cash processing, and with ORCA there is no cash processing. Ancient transfers are neither here nor there.

      4. Credit/debit card transactions also take longer to process than charging a stored-value card or validating a pass stored on the card. It can be mitigated somewhat.

      5. Chip based transactions can take time. With the new tap to pay it’s just as fast as ORCA. Most people carry more than one credit/debit card. If one quits working you’ve got a backup. Not so much with ORCA which has many modes of failure. Ideally any stops/stations with high use have off board payment. It’s got to be cheaper to put in credit card reads which are produced in huge numbers than ORCA readers that are used… anywhere besides Seattle?

        All I’m saying is TriMet is way more user friendly than Metro. In the end it’s all about ridership. I think the convenience would generate enough extra fares that any cost differential (which I’m still not convinced exists) would balance out. I’m thinking of all the out of town visitors here. Every cruise ship that departs from Seattle adds something like $4M to the local economy. For local riders that use transit regularly they are probably buying a pass so the argument about high % of cost on lots of 2 bit transactions doesn’t hold up.

      6. The Hop card had issues too. Among them, they don’t sell them in vending machines, and the single use tickets look and feel like paper but aren’t recyclable as they have NFC stuff in them.

        The Hop card *could* work like a prepaid credit card, as the magnetic strip on the card can be read by credit card readers. That’s how some stores add value to the card. In reality, nobody is set up to use it for regular purchases yet.

      7. The infrastructure needed to implement a tap with credit card system is the same as the next gen ORCA system. The validators are standard equipment that is used throughout the world. You still need a back-office system for handling transfers, passes, other special fares, pre-tax business accounts, and possibly integrating other mobility services. You still need a central clearinghouse for disbursing revenue to the various agencies. You still need pre-paid cards and a retail network for unbanked people.

        Next gen ORCA is capable of taking contactless credit cards but the focus in the first phase is to make sure the millions of existing cards transition over to the new system smoothly.

      8. infrastructure needed to implement a tap with credit card system is the same as the next gen ORCA system.

        Wonderful! Take credit cards. As you posted later on Japan charges a premium for a “one day” charge vs monthly. Great! Tourists don’t care if it costs .25-50 cents more. They do care when the only option is to buy a $5 ORCA card. And, to beat a dead horse, Metro really, NO REALLY, needs to have an all day or 24 hour fare like TriMet. Just do that I’ll believe someone in charge actually gives a damn.

      9. Metro does have an all-day ticket but it’s only available through their Transit GO Ticket app for $8/adult and $4/kid. But it is only good on Metro so if you have to use light rail or streetcar you have to buy a separate pass.

        Better off waiting until ORCA virtual cards are available late next year and get the $8 regional day pass.

      1. And a base fee of around 50c. That’s why a few stores have signs saying “50c surcharge on credit card transactions under $10”, because the fee is such a large part of the total price it wipes out the store’s profit. The rest of the stores don’t do that because the credit processors pressure them not to: the credit processors want the credit price to be the same as the cash price to encourage credit sales. That way they can make credit-card use look “free” to customers, but it’s the stores absorbing the externality. And everyone else, to the extent that stores raise prices to compensate for credit-card overhead. And now some credit card companies pay you a rebate to use their card, but that rebate comes out of the fee they charge the merchant.

        Link has a base fare of $2.25 for the first five miles, plus 5c per addtional mile, rounded to the nearest 25c. That’s similar to how credit-card fees work. It’s “only” 5c a mile, but for short trips the base fare ends up being most of the cost and is much higher than 5c a mile.

        ORCA has a processing fee as all electronic payments do. But the transit agencies chose the vendor and accepted this fee as part of its cost structure, and negotiated a bulk rate which is presumably lower. In contrast, if you use a non-ORCA credit card in a theoretical future system, the agency is at the mercy of how many people do so, and it can’t do anything about the high fees, except not to accept credit cards at all, or to accept it only for large transactions like adding $10+ to an e-purse. Metro’s fare of $2.75 and Link’s base fare of $2.50 is much lower than $10. So it’s like buying a loaf of bread and paying for it by credit card, twice a day or more sometimes. That adds up.

      2. It’s interesting that in Japan where these ORCA-like cards are very common, the fare with card is more granular and cheaper than the cash fare. Using Link as an example, a card fare would be $2.60 instead of rounding up to $2.75.

        The thing about ORCA fees is that if you bought a pass or loaded money into an e-purse via credit/debit card that’s one fee for multiple rides instead of each ride. It’s the same reason why the minimum load is $5.

  17. on my smartphone it will automatically work at every other US transit agency with next-gen technology as well.
    I don’t have a “smart” phone. I have a credit card that seems to work just fine every where else. ORCA just needs to die and payment for Metro enter the current decade.

  18. I’m delighted with the progress on the reduced fare cards and the free-pass pilot projects.

    The fare system is one opportunity to do more than resolutions of support for the Duwamish Tribe, the signatories to the Treaty of Point Eliot who have nevertheless never been recognized by the federal government.

    Extend the free-pass pilot project to enrolled members of the Duwamish Tribe. We took their land and never paid for it. Having the City of Seattle fund this small bit of reparations would be a tiny, tiny blip in the city budget.

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