Tag Archives: ORCA card

Paper transit transfers gone by Halloween

The in basket: Betty Mueller, a friend of The Judybaker, my wife, told her Kitsap Transit is doing away with transfers that allow a rider to continue a trip for which she has paid without paying to get on the next leg. She figured she’d have to pay at least three times to get from her Manchester area home to work in Silverdale.

The out basket: By the time I asked Transit officials about this, Betty had discovered the answer on her own – the ORCA Card that allows passage on numerous forms of Puget Sound mass transit is taking the place of transfers. Betty has obtained one. 

John Clauson of Kitsap Transit says, “We spend about $8,000-$9,000 a year on paper transfers. Paper transfers will be replaced with a 2-hour transfer when riders pay from ‘E-purse’ loaded on their ORCA card.  

“Paper transfers are currently (good) for the next

connecting bus/foot ferry. An ORCA transfer is good for two hours in

any direction, so if a rider can catch a bus to the grocery store, do

their shopping and return on the bus within two hours, they don’t have

to pay any additional fare.  In addition, the ORCA transfer also extends

to the other participating agencies, excluding Washington State Ferries.

“October 31 will be the last day that paper transfers will be used

on our system,” he said, “and the only way you will be

able to receive a free transfer is if you use an ORCA card.”

Where and when to get an ORCA card

The in basket: Tony Smallbeck was puzzled about a couple of things after reading news stories about and the designated Web site for the new ORCA cards introduced to unify and simplify paying one’s fare to travel on the ferries and mass transit systems in the Puget Sound area.

He now uses a combination ferry-transit pass to commute to Seattle, he said. 

“I understand the concept (of the ORCA card) ,” he said, “but…when I ask my Kitsap Transit drivers if I need one, two said yes, two said no..  Also, there is confusion on whether I can only buy them on the Kitsap side in Bremerton, or somewhere – anywhere – else.

Any ideas?” 

The out basket: Technically, Tony won’t need an ORCA card for about six months, says John Clauson of Kitsap Transit, as the previous devices, such as Tony’s joint ferry-bus pass, will still be effective that long.

But the cards are free now, and will require a $3-$5 purchase after six months. “It’s to his advantage to do it sooner rather than later to avoid the charge,” John said.  

The Bremerton Transportation Center where the ferries land is the only place west of Puget Sound to buy one in person for now, John said. But he is hoping to outfit Safeway stores to be remote locations, as they are now for some existing fare devices.

He expects in-person sites to become less and less important, though, as people go online to order the cards (which would be mailed) and to put money in them to pay fares electronically when boarding a participating agencies’ vessel or vehicle. The cards also can be ordered by phone. 

Kitsap Transit and Washington State Ferres are joined by King County Metro, Community Transit of Snohomish County, Pierce Transit, Everett Transit and Sound Transit, operator of commuter rail, in providing and honoring the ORCA cards. The other agencies also have places to purchase one. They are for pedestrians only.

The online site is www.orcacard.com and the phone number is (888) 988-6722.