Saar’s MarketPlace pilot project tests new option for transit riders to get ORCA

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Agencies hoping to make ORCA cards available at more retail locations

Seven Saar's MarketPlace locations in South King and Pierce counties now offer bus, train and ferry riders the opportunity to pick up new ORCA cards at the same time they buy their groceries. For a limited time, new adult ORCA cards are available without fees for customers who add at least $5 to the card's E-purse or purchase a monthly pass.

The pilot project is part of an effort by the region's major transit agencies to explore ways to expand access to ORCA. The pilot will help determine if it's feasible to sell new ORCA cards at other retail outlets in the region.

"Using ORCA helps our riders save money with seamless transfers between transit systems and protects them if their card is lost or stolen. I strongly recommend any adult who does not yet have an ORCA card take advantage of this opportunity to get one without the standard fee," said Pierce Transit CEO Lynne Griffith.

"This partnership with Saar's MarketPlace is an important next step in our efforts to make it easy and convenient for anyone to get an ORCA card - a move that could encourage more people to get onboard with transit," Metro General Manager Kevin Desmond said.

ORCA - One Regional Card for All - continues to grow in popularity as the program turns three years old this month. ORCA cards are used on more than 330,000 trips each weekday and 58 percent of all transit trips in the region. ORCA has replaced about 300 transportation passes, tickets and transfers with a single, easy-to-use card that allows riders to make seamless and cost-saving transfers between transit systems. As needed when transferring, ORCA automatically applies credit from a rider's earlier bus or train trip to any other trip made within two hours.

ORCA is good on Community Transit, Everett Transit, King County Metro Transit, Kitsap Transit, Pierce Transit, Sound Transit and Washington State Ferries. ORCA is also good on the King County Water Taxis and Sound Runner.

The ORCA program's retail partnerships extend beyond the seven Saar's locations. Riders can add E-purse or pass value to ORCA cards they already own at more than 100 retail locations throughout the region (see website for a complete list). However, the only retail locations where riders can currently acquire a brand new adult ORCA card are the seven Saar's locations.

Other easy options for getting ORCA include ordering one via the ORCA website, phone or mail; or visiting a customer service center or Sound Transit ticket vending machine.

The pilot program is available at the following Saar's MarketPlace locations:

  • Burien - 14905 4th Ave S.W- Mon-Sat: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Lakewood - 6111 Lakewood Towne Center Blvd. - Mon-Sat: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Parkland - 13322 Pacific Ave. S. - Mon-Sat: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Renton - 3208 N.E. Sunset Blvd. - Mon-Sat: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Seattle - 9000 Rainier Ave. S. - Mon-Sat: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Tacoma - 1015 N. Pearl St. - Mon-Sat: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Tacoma - 6414 Yakima Ave. - Mon-Sat: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The fee-waived adult ORCA cards will be available for up to six months while supplies last. After that, data and feedback associated with the program will be evaluated.

ORCA makes it easier than ever to take transit throughout the four-county region with smart card technology. Gone are the days of rummaging for correct change and lost papers transfers. ORCA allows a rider to pay her fare quickly, with a simple tap of the card. The microchip inside each ORCA card contains an E-purse that can be loaded with cash value that can be used for individual trips, or any number of passes that offer savings and convenience. With each trip, the correct fare, including any transfer value, is automatically deducted.

ORCA's conveniences also include allowing ORCA cardholders to check their accounts online, by phone or at a ticket vending machine. Customers have the option to register their card, which allows them to restore their card value if it is lost or stolen. Registered cardholders can select an "Autoload" feature that adds value to a card automatically when the E-purse is empty or when the monthly pass expires.

For information about ORCA visit www.orcacard.com or call 1-888-988-6722 (ORCA), TTY Relay 711.