The Commute

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ORCA Making Big Splash Tuesday

September 14th, 2009 by ed friedrich

Although it’s been available on a limited basis since last spring, the ORCA card will be introduced with a “Big Splash” event Tuesday in Seattle. It starts at 9:30 a.m. at the southern end of Amtrak’s Holgate Street yard.

ORCA stands for One Regional Card for All. The limited rollout period for the new electronic fare system has ended, and partner agencies will be phasing out their other transit passes and launching a major promotional campaign. There are seven partner agencies, including Kitsap Transit and Washington State Ferries.

ORCA will replace about 300 various passes, tickets and transfers with a single card that works by tapping it on a reader device.

Over the past four months, more riders have been added to the system so that there are now more than 100,000 cards in circulation.

2 Responses to “ORCA Making Big Splash Tuesday”

  1. Deborah Says:

    We have Orca pass’s. My son is a student and has problems with the bus drivers because they don’t want to take the time to change what fare should be charged. One driver has threatened to “black ball” my son from the Community Transit System because she says he is not paying the full fare by asking her to change her machine to charge the student price. This is a very frustrating situation. My son has to go from Everett to Arlington daily during the week and this driver is making it harder for him, let alone making us pay more then we should have to.
    If this is the way drivers are going to handle the situation of student cards, I would not suggest you get one and try to find an alternative, which is also unfair to the rider.

  2. Alan Says:

    @ Deborah: I have an ORCA card, and it’s done pretty well for me. However, I have seen the occasional difficulty as well, such as the one you mentioned. I have traveled the entire US, (and some of the world) and my advice to you would be twofold. One, you really do need to report any driver issues to Community Transit. Companies can only respond to feedback from people like us. Whether it’s an ongoing issue or one time incident due to an off day is for them to figure out. And two, people in general don’t respond well to change. I wager that by now about 90-95% of the drivers (and riders, too) have figured out how to use/deal with/adapt to ORCA. Sadly there is that 5% who don’t yet, and frankly might not ever. I for one love having a smart card. It’s about time this region caught up with the likes of Atlanta, San Fran, and Phoenix. London, too, for that matter.