4. Using your ORCA card is easy

Just place your ORCA card flat against the ORCA reader:

  • When entering transit tap your card on a card reader and you'll hear a beep and see a green light. This means your pass, fare or transfer has been accepted.
  • When exiting transit (trains only) tap your card on a card reader and you'll hear a beep and see a green light. Tapping off ensures you get charged correctly.
  • If you hear two rapid beeps and see a yellow light, this means your E-purse balance is running low or that your monthly pass is expiring soon. The display will give you a reason, but not to worry - your pass, fare or transfer will still be accepted.
  • If you hear four rapid beeps and see a red light, this means you have insufficient funds 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 your card. If you believe there is an error, contact customer service.

Any error message or insufficient funds means you are riding with an invalid fare, and are subject to Fare Enforcement, which could result in a $124 fine.

ST Express buses

Just tap your ORCA card at the card reader when you board. If the fare is more than the value of your pass, you'll have to pay the difference with E-purse or cash. If you're paying a reduced fare, you'll have to show your Regional Reduced Fare Permit or LIFT card.

Sounder train and Link light rail

Tap your ORCA card at the yellow card reader and you're good to go. Just remember to tap your card again when you arrive at your destination so you don't get charged for the full route.

Fare inspection

Here are a few important things to remember: Not tapping before you ride means you could be fined $124. Show your ORCA card to the conductor or fare inspector when asked, and if you're paying a reduced fare, make sure you show a valid Regional Reduced Fare Permit.

Using ORCA in the tunnel in downtown Seattle

You can find our card readers and ticket vending machines at all tunnel stations.