Retailer partnerships expand ORCA riders’ options

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Bus, train and ferry riders can revalue ORCA cards at Safeway and other stores

Transit riders have more options for saving money and convenient travel as the number of retail outlets where customers can add value to their ORCA cards grows. So far this summer, 47 Safeway outlets around the Puget Sound region now allow customers to purchase E-purse value or transit passes on their previously issued ORCA cards. In the coming months more outlets are on tap to join the current list of 61 retail locations.

"This new convenience provides yet another reason to get ORCA," said Kevin Desmond, King County Metro Transit General Manager. "ORCA customers will appreciate being able to pay for their transit service at the same place they buy bread, milk and other staples of everyday life."

ORCA, One Regional Card for All, is the electronic fare system for seven transportation agencies in the Puget Sound region. Customers can load pre-paid fare value, called E-purse, or a period pass like a monthly transit pass, and use their ORCA card on buses and trains throughout King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish counties, on Washington State Ferries and on the West Seattle and Vashon Island water taxis. On some systems, ORCA is the only way to get a free transfer.

The expanding list of retail outlets provide great options for revaluing existing cards. Initially, riders must acquire their cards through one of several other convenient options. Customers can order their ORCA cards online at www.orcacard.com, by calling 1-888-988-ORCA (6722), or by visiting a transit agency customer service center or fare vending machine. Getting an ORCA card for reduced youth or senior fares requires a one-time visit to a customer service center. Once a customer gets an ORCA card through one of these channels, the card can be revalued at a participating retailer's service center.

The new Safeway partnership greatly expands the number of locations where riders can instantly add value to previously issued ORCA cards. This means a rider can use the value on his or her ORCA card right after walking out of the store. Adding value online or by phone takes 24 to 48 hours to process. Riders can avoid this delay by visiting retail outlets, fare vending machines and ORCA customer service centers - or by setting up their ORCA cards with "Autoload," an automatic revaluing feature.

In addition to the Safeway stores, 14 other retail outlets are currently participating in the ORCA program including seven Saar's Marketplace locations. Later this year, QFC stores around the region will offer ORCA services. Updated listings of participating retailers will be posted at www.orcacard.com.

Launched in 2009, ORCA has replaced about 300 various transportation passes, tickets and transfers with a single card that works by simply tapping the card on an ORCA card reader. For information about ORCA visit www.orcacard.com or call 1-888-988-6722 (ORCA), TTY Relay 711 or 888-889-6368.