Archive for January, 2010

ORCAWith the recent news stories about ORCA card privacy, Choose Your Way Bellvue staff has been receiving a lot of questions about how the ORCA card collects trip information and whether an employer can track an employee’s movements.  To help you better understand the ORCA card privacy issues, here is a list of the most frequently asked questions that we have received:

Is my ORCA information secure?
No personal information (name, birth date, credit card number, etc.) is stored directly on the ORCA cards.  There is no way for someone who steals or finds your ORCA card to obtain this information.  Any personal information is stored in a secure, confidential database that is separate from data about the card’s use.  This information is only linked in the case of a customer service inquiry, such as a lost/stolen card or refund request, or to load value onto a registered ORCA card.

Can my employer see where I am going if I get an ORCA card from them?
As you have read in the newspaper, your employer does have access to reports that show trip data for the ORCA cards associated with their business account.  However, this report only shows summary level transaction data (trip date, transit agency, route and time of transaction) and is not associated with any personal information (name, birth date, etc.) or even an ORCA card serial number.  An employer can request to receive the card serial number for a particular trip if they suspect misuse. This request must be done in writing and include a valid reason for the request.  If the request is granted then the employer will be given the serial number of the ORCA card.  It is up to each employer to determine if they are going to link ORCA card serial numbers with the name of the person using that card. 

Why does the ORCA card collect trip information?
The ORCA program collects data that is necessary for calculating the correct fare and distributing that fare revenue accurately between the 7 participating agencies.  They also use aggregate data from revenue collection and distribution to track regional travel patterns to assist with future transit service design.  Individual card data is uses by the ORCA agencies only to assist with customer service inquiries, such as loss/theft or refund requests.

Is there anything I can do if I don’t want any personal data collected by ORCA?
You have a number of options for maintaining anonymity when using the ORCA system.

– Talk to your employer:  If you receive an ORCA card from your employer, you can contact them directly about your concerns.  Employers set their own policies about ORCA card privacy and the information they can access.

– Use a personal card:  Your employer has no access to any data collected on an ORCA card you obtain personally.

– Use an unregistered personal card: Every ORCA card user has the option to not register their card and this allows a customer to use the card anonymously.  The drawback to having an unregistered card is that there is no way to transfer your funds to a new card if yours is lost or stolen.

– Pay cash: You can continue to use cash for all transit rides on all seven transit agencies.  However, interagency transfers are no longer accepted unless a customer is using an ORCA card.

Still have questions?  Post a comment and TransManage staff will be happy to help!

-Caryn

Monday, January 25th, 2010 12:06 PM | by admin | Comments (4)

VanpoolYou’ve probably seen Metro Vanpools in your town or in Bellevue, but do you know what they are? Years back a lady in my neighborhood parked a Metro Vanpool at her house. I assumed she was a Metro employee and drove the van around. Now I know better. In fact, I even drive a Metro Vanpool! Anyone can start a vanpool. You need at least 5 people to start. It works best if you all live and work in a common place. The group is free to designate pick up and drop off points as well as start and leave times.

I have been driving my van for a year and 3 months. In all honesty, the van was rather challenging to start because I couldn’t find enough riders. It took me 3 months to get the van on the road. .Eventually I was able to find all of the riders for my van at www.rideshareonline.com. My advice: don’t give up when starting your vanpool. Eventually you will find enough riders!

Here is a question for you: What is stopping you from being in a vanpool? Do you not have enough information on how it works? Are you scared of the commitment? I’d love to hear what you have to say.

In my next post I’ll try to address some of your concerns.

-Melissa

Friday, January 15th, 2010 10:43 AM | by admin | Add a Comment

ORCA Reader 2You may have heard that on January 1 standard transit passes made the shift to ORCA, but did YOU make the switch? If you were using an employer-provided bus pass, like Flex Pass or U-PASS, there is no need for you to acquire an individual ORCA card because your employer will provide a card. But if you were a regular purchaser of a monthly Puget Pass or another transit pass product, you may be scratching your head about how you will pay for your bus commute now. Have no fear! We at Choose Your Way Bellevue have mapped out the five ways to get a hold of your very own ORCA card:

1. Online: Visit OrcaCard.com and create a new My Orca Account by clicking through the “Need a Card” and “Order New Card” links. Once your complete your My Orca Account profile, you will have the choice to either load a monthly bus pass product onto your card (essentially the new Puget Pass), or load cash into your “E-purse” which will be deducted from just like a debit card when you ride the bus. Both options require online payment with a valid Visa or Mastercard. Once you have completed the online process your ORCA card will show up in your mailbox shortly and ready to use!

*Note: Online option is for Adult ORCA cards only. Youth (ages 6 to 18), senior (ages 65+) and disabled Regional Reduced Fare Permit ORCA cards must be purchased in person at an ORCA Customer service office (see “In Person Option A” below).

2. By Mail: Download the ORCA Card Order/Add Value Form, fill out the required sections, and mail your completed application to: ORCA Regional Mail Center, 201 S Jackson Street, MS TR-0108, Seattle, WA 98104-3856. Load a monthly pass product or cash into your “E-purse” by sending a check, credit card # or money order with your application. You may also load your ORCA card online or by phone a once you receive your card.

*Note: By Mail option is for Adult and Youth (ages 6 to 18) ORCA cards only. Senior (ages 65+) and disabled Regional Reduced Fare Permit ORCA cards must be purchased in person at an ORCA Customer service office (see “In Person” options below).

3. By Phone: Call the ORCA customer service hotline at 1-888-988-6722 or TTY Relay: 711/1-888-889-6368. Payment for loading a monthly pass or cash into your “E-purse” requires a valid Visa or Mastercard.

*Note: Phone option is for Adult ORCA cards only. Youth (ages 6 to 18), senior (ages 65+) and disabled Regional Reduced Fare Permit ORCA cards must be purchased in person at an ORCA Customer service office (see “In Person Option A” below).

4. In Person:

Option A – ORCA Customer Service Office. Click on the link to view offices by agency and location. Adult, youth (ages 6 to 18), senior (ages 65+) and disabled Regional Reduced Fare Permit ORCA card applications are accepted. Most forms of payment are also accepted.

Option B – Participating Retail Outlet. Click on the link to view retail outlets and locations. Pick up a new ORCA card (Adult fare customers only) and load a monthly bus pass or cash to your “E-purse” (all customers).

Option C – Stop by either of these downtown Bellevue locations Monday through Friday, while supplies last: Commuter Connection store, in the Rider Services Building at the Bellevue Transit Center, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. TransManage office. 500 108th Ave. NE, Suite 210, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

*Note: Only Adult fare customers can receive a new blank ORCA card at a participating retail outlet, the Commuter Connection store or the TransManage office. Customers eligible for reduced fare (Youth (ages 6 to 18), senior (ages 65+) and disabled Regional Reduced Fare Permit ORCA cards must first obtain a reduced fare ORCA card at an ORCA Customer Service Office (see Option A) prior to adding value.

5. Ticket Vending Machine: Located on the mezzanine level of all Sound Transit Link light rail and Sounder commuter rail stations. Click on this link to view the full list of self-serve ticket vending machine locations. A machine is expected to be installed at the Bellevue Transit Center in spring 2010. TVM purchases require cash or valid Visa or MasterCard.

*Note: Only Adult fare customers may receive new ORCA card at a Ticket Vending Machine. Customers eligible for reduced fare (Youth (ages 6 to 18), senior (ages 65+) and disabled Regional Reduced Fare Permit ORCA cards) must first obtain a reduced fare ORCA card at an ORCA Customer Service Office before  adding value at a TVM location.

And please be aware that through January 31 the standard ORCA card is available at no charge, however beginning February 1, 2010 a $5 card fee will be charged. Current youth (ages 6 to 18), senior (ages 65+) and disabled Reduced Regional Fare Permit holders may exchange their valid RRFP card at a ORCA Customer Service Office (see locations above) any time for a new ORCA RRFP card at no charge. A new RRFP ORCA card costs $3.

Happy travels!

-Jordan

Friday, January 8th, 2010 5:57 PM | by admin | Add a Comment

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