What’s black and white and rides the bus? ORCA!

So you’ve decided to take the plunge and be a regular transit user; congratulations! We’ll make sure you know all the tips and tricks to your ORCA card so you’re tapping like a pro on your first go.

What is an ORCA card? ORCA stands for ‘One Regional Card for All’. It is a card that can be used to pay your fare on all regional modes of transit; bus, ferry, rail, and train. The ORCA card will automatically keep track of different fares and your transfers, and will allow you to transfer seamlessly between agencies.

Where to get an ORCA card:

For a standard adult ORCA card there are multiple options; you can get your card by mail, online or in person. The card cost is $5.

Youth cards are also $5 and may be obtained by mail or in person (see below on where to pick up a youth card in person) with proof of age. Youth cards provide riders age 6-18 with reduced fare. More info on youth cards can be found here (information about other types of reduced-fare cards is below).

By mail: Print and complete the form and mail it in with a check or money order to the following address:

ORCA Regional Mail Center
KSC TR-0108
201 S Jackson St
Seattle WA 98104-3856

Online: By visiting ORCAcard.com you can order an adult card online. It is recommended that you create an account to register your card, but if you’d like to order an unregistered card you can do that as well. Cards will be sent out five to seven business days after the purchase date.

Why register an ORCA card?

To add insurance to your commute, consider registering your ORCA card. This way, if your card is lost or stolen you can freeze the account and have the remaining balance transferred to your new card. Register your ORCA card here.

In Person:

To get any type of ORCA card you may visit one of the transit agency offices or an ORCA To-Go event, which are mobile sales events. For a link to upcoming ORCA To-Go events click here. King County locations are open the first and last four business days of each month at the following locations:

King Street Center
201 S. Jackson St., Seattle

Monday – Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm
Closed on holidays
-All card types available

Westlake Customer Stop
Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel, Seattle
Westlake Station (west end on the Mezzanine near Macy’s)

-Senior and Adult cards only

Standard adult cards may also be obtained at various retailers throughout King County. For a complete list of retailers click here.

Retailers in Bellevue:

QFC 1510 145th PL SE Mon-Sun: 10 am to 7 pm

QFC 3550 128th SE Ave Mon-Sun: 9 am to 9 pm

QFC 10116 NE 8th St Mon-Sun: 10 am to 7 pm

QFC 15600 NE 8th St Bldg K-1 Mon-Sun: 7:30 am to 8 pm

Safeway 300 Bellevue Way NE Mon-Sun: 9 am to 9 pm

Reduced fare ORCA cards:

If you are a senior, have a disability, or are a low-income resident you may be eligible for a reduced fare ORCA cards. These cards cost $3 dollars each. To find out more about eligibility requirements for senior and disabled cards follow this link and look under the ‘Proof of Age’ header. To learn more about low-income ORCA Lift cards and eligibility requirements follow this link or call (206) 553-3000 or (800) 756-5437.

Senior and disabled cards must be obtained in person at the transit agency offices listed above with the proper eligibility documents. ORCA Lift must be obtained in person at the transit agency offices, one of the additional enrollment locations, or at select ORCA To-Go events. Be aware that the hours of operation for enrollment locations are not standardized. However, once obtained the ORCA Lift card is valid for two years, regardless of an increase in income.

For further information on accessibility read our blog.

How to load your ORCA card:

When purchasing your ORCA card, you’ll have to decide how you’d like to pay your fare. If you’re a regular rider, a regional pass may be your best option. This will provide you with unlimited rides at your selected fare rate for a pre-determined time period. Alternatively, using the E-purse will allow you to pay as you go and only for what you use. It is also possible to set up a monthly autoload so that you’re never without your fare. Typically, value will be added at the same time as your purchase of the card. Value added online, by mail, or by phone takes 24-48 hours to go out to the ORCA card readers. After that time, tap on the reader, and the value is added. The tap is required to activate the add value transaction. Tap within 60 days to activate your value.

For more information about fares follow this link. For general fare info click here, and for peak and off-peak bus fare info click here.

Some examples of pass types are listed below.

  • A regional pass, like a monthly PugetPass.
  • A regional day pass. Good for unlimited rides starting at first use through 3 a.m. the next day. Additional fare is required for one-way fares above $3.50 (adult) or $1.75 (senior/disabled).
  • An agency-specific pass, like Kitsap Transit or Washington State Ferries monthly pass.
  • E-purse, short for electronic purse, to use like cash to pay your fare. Store from $5 to $300 E-purse value on your ORCA card.
  • A combination of pass and E-purse. Add E-purse to cover any additional fares beyond your monthly pass.

How to reload an ORCA card:

Once you have our ORCA card, it can be used again and again by reloading it. You can do this online, by mail, with the help of ORCA Customer Service, or at participating retailers by following the above guidance; or by ticket vending machine. For a list of ticket vending machine locations click here.

TranBen Vouchers:

At some point you may receive a TranBen Voucher. This is a voucher that acts like a check to put value onto your ORCA card. You can redeem these at participating retailers listed here, at a customer service office (listed above) or by mail to the address listed above along with an Add Value Form.

For even more info:

All this information and more can be found at www.ORCAcard.com, where all FAQs are answered, and here. As always, Choose Your Way Bellevue is here to answer any additional questions. Send us an email at info@CYWB.org. Or if you prefer, contact ORCA or the relevant transit agency.

-Choose Your Way Bellevue Staffer Paige 

This entry was posted on Thursday, June 23rd, 2016 at 12:25 am and is filed under Bus. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to “What’s black and white and rides the bus? ORCA!”

  1. Irene says:

    Thank you for your posts and for what you are doing here! Admbarile work and much success in your business dealings! Please excuse my poor English as it is not my first tongue.

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