Where To Load Orca Card – As part of major improvements to the ORCA website and app this year, ORCA also released a newly designed card this fall. One of the main reasons we’re introducing the new card (besides the beautiful design!) is where ORCA cards can be sold and reloaded.
The new card, with a barcode on the back, will allow us to add more communities and locally owned businesses throughout the Puget Sound region to the ORCA retail network. In other words, more accessible places for our riders to purchase ORCA cards and reload value.
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While many existing stores and new stores joining the network will be able to reload Classic Blue, Regional Reduced Rate Permit (RRFP) and new cards, some stores like Safeway and Albertsons will only load the new cards starting December 1st. 2022 year.
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Beginning December 1, 2022, Safeway/Albertson stores will no longer be able to reload Classic Blue and RRFP ORCA cards. I usually go to Safeway/Albertson stores to reload my ORCA card; Should I get a new one?
The good news is that if you have an RRFP ORCA card (LIFT, Senior or Disabled) or one loaded only at Safeway/Albertson stores, you can get a free replacement card at the ORCA Customer Service Office! If you don’t want to get a replacement card, it’s $3.00 to replace an adult card ORCA is now in more stores than ever before, and we’re still growing our network. There may be another store or location closer than you think.
As a reminder, our website and app now load assets instantly; The new myORCA.com makes it easy to add money or passes to your card or add value on the go with the myORCA app.
Depending on which card you have, here’s the best way to transition from an old ORCA card to a new one:
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If you have a Blue ORCA Adult Card, you can purchase a replacement card for $3.00 at all participating retail stores, including Safeway/Albertson stores, as well as:
Do you currently have a monthly statement on your blue card? If yes, make sure you fill out that pass before discarding the card. Passes are not transferable between cards.
If you have an Elderly/Disabled RRFP card and rely only on Safeway/Albertson stores to reload your ORCA card, you are eligible for a free replacement card. For a free ORCA card, visit an ORCA customer service location.
Did your employer provide you with your ORCA card? Don’t worry, that card will continue to work. Your employer will let you know when they want to switch to new cards.
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NOTE: We currently have a 3 week delay in shipping ORCA card orders. We appreciate your patience. The next generation of ORCA cards should be available by 2023, according to an agreement transit agencies will strike with retailers and the company chosen to launch the card.
The Sound Transit Board signed the agreement with Ready Credit Corporation at its April 25 meeting. A memo summarizing the deal says “actual distribution of the smart cards” will “begin at the end of the third or fourth year.” The deal will make the new ORCA cards available in stores and vending machines as early as winter 2022.
Sound Transit has already approved a vendor to create the system architecture, cards and readers needed for the system, or back of house, as the restaurant might say. Prepared front-of-house credit agreement: agreements with vending machines and retailers.
This agreement enables a significant, positive change in the way people actually buy and reload ORCA cards. Cards should be available in more places than they are today.
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Currently, transit agencies that accept ORCA as fare payment are responsible for contracting with retailers to place the cards in stores. Metro, Sound Transit and their partners will need to connect directly with the stores that sell the cards. The ORCA vending machine system also suffers from outdated technology that is no longer available for purchase, according to the memo. Also, Sound Transit and partner agencies are responsible for the maintenance of the vending machines.
The result is contracts with grocery stores, and mostly with grocery chains. Most of the names on ORCA’s current vendor list are QFC and Safeway.
Potentially, entering into agreements with private sellers with strong incentives to expand the card business will improve business development. In Portland, TriMet has a card sales agreement with Ready Credit, Hop Cards are available for sale at various businesses throughout the city.
Ready Credit’s core business is offering prepaid debit and gift cards through retail stores and vending machines. According to the Sound Transit memo, Ready Credit has sales operations at “more than 570 retailers in the ORCA region.” If the new system develops like Portland’s, customers will be able to purchase a pre-loaded ORCA pass or reload cards with cash or credit at each bodega.
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This new system helped your cashless correspondent write this post. I got a free ride on the way home from a board meeting where it was approved. I lost track of my ORKA balance and while rushing out of a meeting to run some errands downtown, I forgot to load my card in the ORKA machine at Union Station. I barely had time to enter the tunnel and charge the card. Fortunately for me, the subway understood me and waved me off.
The Seattle Transit Blog is an independent, award-winning publication covering transportation and land use issues in Seattle and the Puget Sound region since 2007. UsEditor’s Note: This post is the first in a series on using an ORCA card to connect buses and links. The following post shares some examples of driver trips to show how ORCA works with Link.
Now that Link Light Rail and our Northeast Seattle and Capitol Hill changes are approaching, we’re getting a lot of questions about how fares work when you use both buses and Link Light Rail for trips. Having an ORCA card is an easy and cheap way to pay.
This post will help you better understand how to seamlessly navigate the Metro and Sound Transit system, how ORCA works for you, the different ways to get an ORCA card, and how to use it. We’ve created examples of drivers updating their planned journeys due to the new Link service. Read about their decisions and how to practically ride buses and trains with ORCA in our next blog post.
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First things first: if you don’t already have an ORCA card, let’s get one for you ASAP. Connecting between buses and trains is fast, easy and cost-effective with the ORCA card. Money takes longer when you get on the bus and the paper transfers you get are not accepted on the train.
There are card types for everyone – adults, youth, seniors and disabled (Reduced Price Regional Licence) and people with little or no income (ORCA LIFT). Because of the type of information required to obtain some of these cards, where you can obtain one varies for each type of card. However, once you have your card, you can load passes or e-purse value (think cash) at any location.
For ORCA LIFT low rate cards, you must register at ORCA LIFT registration sites to verify your eligibility and have your card issued. In many cases, the ORCA To-Go sales van will be accompanied by an ORCA LIFT registration table, so you can register and receive an ORCA LIFT card, then place a low-cost card and/or e-purse value . time
ORCA cards make it easy to pay for bus, train and ferry rides across the Puget Sound region and save people money.
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With ORCA cards, transfers between buses and connections – and buses to buses – are easy and cheap.
This is especially true for all of our riders who use the new Link light rail stations at the University of Washington and Capitol Hill. Tap the ORKA card as you walk or roll through the system: tap the card when you get on the bus, before you get on the train and when you get off the train. Remember that light rail fares are determined by how far you ride. If you do not touch when you exit the train, you will be charged a higher price. If you use RapidRide, then you can tap your card at RapidRide stations to expedite boarding before you first board the bus. The first trip you take determines the price you pay.
If you connect to another bus or train within two hours, it is a transfer. Transfers are free as long as the second (or third or …) trip is not more expensive than the first. If so, you will be charged the difference, which in most cases it is
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