The ORCA card is all you need to pay your fare on Sound Transit, Community Transit, Everett Transit, King County Metro, Kitsap Transit, Pierce Transit, Seattle Street Car, Seattle Monorail, the King County Water Taxi, and Washington State Ferries.
Transferring is easy with an ORCA card. When you use the ORCA card to transfer between ORCA-family transit services, your first-leg fare counts toward to the second leg of your trip. If the second leg of your trip costs the same or less than your first, your transfer is free. If your second-leg fare costs more than your first, your ORCA card will automatically deduct the difference from your E-purse balance. Transfer values expire two hours after you first tap your ORCA Card to begin your trip.
How to buy an ORCA card
ORCA cards cost $5. Youth cards can only be purchased at an ORCA customer service office or through the mail. Proof of age is required such as school ID, birth certificate or passport.
Regional Reduced Fare Permit and ORCA LIFT cards are free. Replacement cards cost $3.
Once you have a card, you can add value between $5 and $300 on the card's E-purse value or a monthly pass.
There are many ways to get an adult ORCA card:
888-988-6722 / TTY Relay: 711
Bellevue Transit Center, Burien Transit Center, Eastgate Park-and-Ride, Federal Way Transit Center and Northgate Transit Center
ORCA customer service offices
Print the order form and mail to:
ORCA Regional Mail Center
201 S. Jackson St.
Seattle, WA 98104
Using your ORCA card is easy
Ready to ride? Just look for the closest ORCA Card reader and "tap on" by placing your card flat against it. One beep and a green light means you’re good to go.
On Sounder trains and Link light rail
Look for one of the yellow ORCA Card readers on the platform and tap your card before boarding to pay your fare. When you reach your destination, tap your card on a reader again. Sounder and Link fares are distance-based, so if you forget to "tap off", you'll be charged the maximum fare.
On ST Express buses
Just tap your ORCA Card on the reader when you board. Since buses charge flat fares, there’s no need to tap off at the end of your ride.
Transferring between services
When you use your card to transfer from one ORCA-family transit service* to another (for instance, from a King County Metro bus to Sound Transit Link light rail), you don’t have to pay two full fares—your first-leg fare counts toward to the second leg of your trip.
If the second leg of your trip costs the same or less than your first, your transfer is free. If your second-leg fare costs more than your first, your ORCA Card will deduct the difference from your E-purse balance. Transfer values expire two hours after you first tap your ORCA Card to begin your trip.
*Exception: Washington State Ferries do not accept transfers.
- When you tap to begin your ride, you'll hear a single beep and see a green light. This means your fare, pass or transfer has been accepted.
- When tapping off a ride (only necessary on Link and Sounder), you'll hear a double beep and see a green light again.
- If you hear two rapid beeps and see a yellow light: This is a friendly warning that your E-purse balance is running low, or your monthly pass is expiring soon. But not to worry—your pass, fare or transfer will still be accepted.
- If you hear four rapid beeps and see a red light: Your card balance is too low, or your card didn’t make good contact. The display will say, "Insufficient funds." Try again, and if you have the same result, you will need to reload value to your card. If you believe there is an error, contact customer service.
- If you receive an error message or an alert for insufficient funds and you board anyway, you’re riding with an invalid fare and subject to fare enforcement, which could result in a $124 fine.
Don’t forget to tap! Fare enforcement officers periodically board trains to check fares for all passengers on board. Show your ORCA Card to the conductor or fare inspector when asked, and if you're paying a reduced fare, make sure you show your valid Regional Reduced Fare Permit. If you cannot show proof of fare payment, you could be fined $124.
How to add value to an ORCA card
You can add value to an ORCA card at orcacard.com, at Ticket Vending Machines, by phone at 888-988-6722, by mail, or at an ORCA customer service office. These offices are King County Metro, Pierce Transit, Community Transit, Everett Transit, and Kitsap Transit. You can add between $5 and $300 on the card's E-purse or a monthly pass.
Used like cash to pay bus or train fares, the fare for your ride is subtracted from the E-purse so you pay as you go.
Buy a pass
There are monthly regional pass options for Community Transit, Everett Transit, King County Metro Transit, Kitsap Transit, Pierce Transit buses and Sound Transit buses and trains. Buy a pass that has the per-trip value of the trip you usually take. Passes are good for trips with fares up to the per-trip value of your pass. If the fare of any trip is more than your pass, you can pay the difference with your E-purse.
Passes are good for one calendar month
For example: A July pass is good July 1-31. If you buy the July monthly pass on July 13, the monthly pass is only good until July 31. The 14th of July is the last day to buy a July pass. You may buy an August pass beginning July 1, but the pass will be good starting August 1.
ORCA LIFT for low-income adults
Now there's a more affordable way to get to work, school, shopping, day care or anywhere else you need to go. With ORCA LIFT you have all the power and convenience of the ORCA card system at a fraction of the cost.
If you qualify for the ORCA LIFT program, you'll receive a free ORCA LIFT card registered to your name, with the same features every ORCA card has. You can load e-purse value on your card to pay for trips one at a time or load a monthly pass that lets you take unlimited trips for that calendar month. For special trips at a higher fare than your monthly pass, you can add e-purse value on top of your monthly pass.
ORCA LIFT benefits
With the ORCA LIFT card, low-income adult riders can get big savings on transit fares:
- All Sound Transit services (Link and Sounder trains, ST Express buses)
- Community Transit
- Everett Transit
- King County Metro Transit buses
- Kitsap Transit buses
- King County Water Taxi
- Seattle Monorail
- Seattle Streetcar
- Parking permits at select Sound Transit and King County Metro Park & Ride lots
For current fares click the links above.
How much does it cost to get an ORCA LIFT card?
Nothing. The card is free to qualified individuals. If your card is lost, stolen or damaged, replacement cards cost $3. Users are responsible for the costs to load e-purse value or a monthly transit pass on the card.
How to get the ORCA LIFT card?
Eligibility is based on your household income. People with a household income of less than double the federal poverty level (as established by the US Health and Human Services Department) qualify for ORCA LIFT.
- Review the household income guidelines to see if you qualify or call King County Metro Customer Service at (206) 553-3000 or (800) 756-5437.
- Apply over the phone with Public Health at 800‐756‐5437, online, or authorized enrollment offices around Snohomish, King and Pierce County. Please note most enrollment offices are currently closed.
How do I use an ORCA LIFT card?
You can use your ORCA LIFT card just like a regular ORCA card. Visit orcacard.com for information on how to use an ORCA card on trains, buses, ferries and streetcars as well as for information on how to add value to the card.
Can I get an ORCA Lift rate parking permit with an RRFP card?
Transit riders who are 65 years of age or older, those with a qualified disability, and Medicare card holders are eligible for a Regional Reduced Fare Permit (RRFP) card. RRFP card holders are eligible for ORCA Lift rate for parking permits at participating Sound Transit parking facilities if they ALSO meet the household income requirements for participation in the ORCA Lift reduced transit fare program.
To obtain an SOV parking permit at the discounted ORCA Lift rate, please:
- Review the ORCA Lift household income qualifications: household income guidelines to see if you qualify or call King County Metro Customer Service at (206) 553-3000 or (800) 756-5437.
- Visit the Sound Transit Permit Parking page (https://www.soundtransit.org/ride-with-us/parking) and follow links to start an application for an ORCA Lift rate parking permit at a participating park & ride.
- Confirm your eligibility by providing a statement of your household income and the number of persons in your household, and
- Provide your valid RRFP card number on your permit application.
Subsidized annual pass
King County Metro and Sound Transit have partnered to create a new, subsidized annual pass program, allowing qualified riders to travel on select transit in our region with subsidized fares. Passengers who reside in King, Pierce, or Snohomish County and are enrolled in one of the six state benefit programs are eligible:
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)/State Family Assistance (SFA)
- Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA)
- Aged, Blind, or Disabled Cash Assistance (ABD)
- Pregnant Women Assistance (PWA)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Housing & Essential Needs (HEN)
Regional monthly pass values
Ride on all buses and trains for one calendar month with a regional pass. Buy a pass that represents the per-trip value of the trip you usually take. The pass is good for rides up to the per-trip value. If your trip costs more than the pass value, the remainder will be subtracted from your E-purse balance. Find more information on how to add passes and E-purse value to your ORCA card in our How to add value to an ORCA card section.
|Trip value||Pass total cost per month|
next generation ORCA
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 2022.
- 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.
- 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.
- We will continue to procure other pieces of the system and identify new retail partners.
- Program phases include design, development, testing, installation, and operations.
- 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