ORCA stands for One Regional Card for All. It’s a stored-value card that can be used on nine different transit agencies in the Puget Sound area, including King County Metro, Sound Transit, Community Transit, Pierce County, and Kitsap Transit. The ORCA card makes it easier and more affordable than ever to pay fares and transfer seamlessly from the bus, train, rail, and ferry.
Why are there different types of ORCA cards?
ORCA cards come in four types to offer different fare rates depending on an individual’s age, income level, or disability. The four cards are:
- ORCA Youth—for ages 6–18, this card is charged $1.50 per trip (children age 5 and under ride for free with an adult)
- ORCA Adult—standard issue for transit riders age 19–64, this card is charged a full fare, ranging from $2.25 to $5.75
- ORCA LIFT—designed for adult riders with a household income less than or equal to 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level, as established by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, this card is charged $1.50 per trip
- ORCA RRFP—designed for people age 65+ and younger individuals with qualifying disabilities, this card is charged $1.00 per trip
RRFP stands for Regional Reduced Fare Permit. RRFP card holders are charged the lowest fare of all. People age 65 or older qualify for this fare, regardless of income level.
Why get an ORCA card?
Pre-paid ORCA cards enable people to use public transportation conveniently. If you have never used transit before, it has never been easier to start than with an ORCA card. Using an ORCA card ensures that transfers are simple. Carrying loose pocket change is unnecessary.
For many, public transportation is crucial to our ability to remain engaged with family, friends, and the greater community. Transit agencies are increasingly making their systems more accessible and better connected to public hubs like libraries, community centers, or shopping malls. Ride transit to explore new places, to visit your favorite coffee shop, or to the grocery story!
How to get an ORCA card
You can get an ORCA card in multiple ways. Your options depend on the type of card you are seeking. The standard ORCA card is available to purchase for $5.00 at:
- King County Metro’s King Street Center
- King County Metro’s Neighborhood Pop-Up events
- ORCA Retail Locations
To obtain a reduced fare card (ORCA Youth, ORCA LIFT, or ORCA RRFP), individuals must provide proof of eligibility. ORCA Youth cards cost $3.00. There is no purchasing fee for ORCA LIFT and ORCA RRFP card recipients.
To receive an ORCA RRFP card, people age 65+ can mail a completed application form (front page only)—with proof of age—to Metro Transit, KSC-TR-0102, 201 S Jackson St, Seattle, WA 98104-3856. The form must be signed. To prove age, enclose a copy of one of the following items:
- State driver identification license or ID card (expired cards acceptable); OR
- Birth certificate; OR
- Passport; OR
- Any state or federal document that contains name and birthdate.
Alternatively, ORCA RRFP applicants can bring identification to King County Metro’s King Street Station or a Neighborhood Pop-Up event (see above).
Individuals with disabilities who apply for an ORCA RRFP card must provide identification and a completed application form, which may require the signature of a Washington State-licensed physician (MD), psychiatrist, psychologist (PhD), physician assistant (PA), advanced registered nurse practitioner (ARNP), or audiologist (certified by the American Speech and Hearing Association).
Lastly, individuals applying for ORCA LIFT in King County can do so by visiting King County Metro Services (see above), a Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) Public Health Office, or any of the other locations specified. Kitsap County residents must contact Kitsap Transit and Snohomish County residents can contact either Community Transit or Everett Transit.
Neighborhood Pop-Up events
King County Metro’s Neighborhood Pop-Up customer service provides an accessible way to obtain ORCA Adult, ORCA RRFP, or ORCA Youth cards throughout King County. They provide rotating service at resource fairs, community events, and set bi-monthly visits to community centers, city libraries, or City Halls. Individuals can also check their balance and/or load money on to an existing ORCA card when visiting an event. More information on where to find them can be found on the Neighborhood Pop-Up events calendar on King County Metro’s website. Neighborhood Pop-Up cannot provide service for ORCA LIFT recipients due to the income qualifications required.
For more information about ORCA cards, call 888-988-6722 or visit www.ORCAcard.com.
The King County Mobility Coalition contributed this article. The Coalition’s vision is a coordinated transportation network that allows all people to move freely around King County and the Puget Sound region. Learn more at www.kcmobility.org.
Which ORCA Card is Right for Me?
Help spread the word about ORCA cards. The graphic at the top of the page is available as a PDF in multiple languages: