Transit agencies extend free ORCA card offer

January 26, 2010

By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 6 a.m. Jan. 26, 2010

ORCA transit smart cards will be available for free through Feb. 28.

Starting March 1, a standard adult or youth ORCA card will cost $5. The free-card promotion had been scheduled to end Jan. 31.

ORCA — for One Regional Card for All — is a collaboration between Metro Transit and transit systems in King, Kitsap, Snohomish and Pierce counties. The plastic card contains a microprocessor; cards come equipped with a so-called e-purse function to allow riders to preload fares onto the card. Customers can also purchase a pass product, like a monthly PugetPass, and then load it onto the smart card.

Buy a card online here or at a Sound Transit vending machine. Standard adult ORCA cards can be purchased from any ticket machine at Central Link light rail stations or Sounder commuter rail stations. Central Link is open seven days a week, so riders can pick up a card at the locations 24/7.

Order a card by phone at 888-988-6722 toll-free.

Or pick up a card at the Metro sales office on the mezzanine level of Westlake Tunnel Station and Metro headquarters in the King Street Center building, 201 S. Jackson St., Seattle. The office will be open Saturdays from Jan. 30 through the end of February.

Transit officials said the extended free-card promotion should help ease the transition to ORCA and reduce the rush for the cards at customer service centers. Each of the ORCA partner agencies took special measures, like increased staff at ticket locations, to meet the high demand.

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