next generation ORCA Project

Public transit agencies throughout Central Puget Sound are building the next generation of ORCA. The new ORCA will greatly improve the customer experience, offer new payment options, maintain customer data security, and be flexible enough to adapt to changing technologies.

ORCA customers and transit riders were asked to comment on the current ORCA system. Over 2,600 people responded. Customers confirmed that ORCA has made traveling throughout the region easier. The feedback we received from the survey led us to keep the things customers like and ensure the next generation ORCA will:

  • Offer a mobile app to manage your account and pay your fare
  • Instantly load value and products to your ORCA account
  • Offer more retail locations to buy ORCA cards and add value
  • Feature an improved website that makes it easier to manage your account

When will next generation ORCA launch?

  • The new ORCA will come online in phases, beginning in 2021.
  • Ensuring a smooth transition requires significant coordination between the seven Puget Sound transit agencies that make up the ORCA network – Community Transit, Everett Transit, King County Metro, Kitsap Transit, Pierce Transit, Sound Transit, and Washington State Ferries.
  • All seven agencies must transition to the new system while continuing to offer seamless travel throughout the region.
  • This project is a bit like rebuilding a house from the foundation up – while people are still living in it.

Current Activities 

  • The planning phase is finished and system specifications have been developed. 
  • Detailed specifications for the base of the system are available in the Scope of Work (pdf) for customers wanting more in-depth information
  • Design work is underway:
    • With the Systems Integrator to deliver the backend system and most of the devices and software
    • With a Retail Network partner to deliver an expanded and more efficient retail network
  • Vendors can check the Sound Transit eBid site for future RFPs.

Next Steps

  • We will continue to procure other pieces of the system and identify new retail partners.
  • Program phases include design, development, testing, installation, and operations.

ORCA Partnership

  • The ORCA consortium of seven regional transit providers is governed by a Joint Board with representatives from each of the seven agencies.
  • Sound Transit is the regional contracting and procurement agency for this system.

Building on Success

Since 2009, ORCA has created seamless fare payment so people can travel easily on the region’s buses, trains, streetcars, and ferries. To-date, ORCA has:

  • Over 400,000 weekday boardings
  • Over a million cards in circulation
  • 1,800 accounts serving employers, schools, and other institutions
  • Over 125 retail store locations and 100 ticket vending machines
  • Improved regional mobility for customers
  • One of the highest service attribute ratings across the region