Tuesday, February 23, 2010

No-fee ORCA deadline is February 28

ORCA (One Regional Card for All) is the electronic fare-payment system adopted by Community Transit, King County Metro, Sound Transit, Everett Transit, Pierce Transit, Kitsap Transit and the Washington State Ferries. ORCA cards allow customers to travel and transfer seamlessly between agencies without having to use different passes, tickets and transfers.

Marketing Promotions & Outreach staff from Community Transit have distributed ORCA cards to customers throughout Snohomish County since the smart card launched last year. Our goal has been to get as many people as possible hooked up with ORCA before the card fee kicks in. Beginning Monday, March 1 it will cost $5 to get a new card, but right now adult and youth ORCA cards are still free. Over the past few weeks we’ve hit the outreach circuit extra hard at senior centers, park & rides, bus stops and resource fairs, with a new promotion to help our customers make the switch to ORCA. We’ll be out and about through Friday to help as many people as we can.
There are lots of ways to get your hands on a free ORCA card before March 1 – since you're reading this online, your best bet is to pop over to www.orcacard.com and order a registered card that'll be mailed right to your door. Customers who want to go in person can visit the RideStore at Lynnwood Transit Center, Everett Station, or the newest retail location at Roger’s Market in Mountlake Terrace. Click here to see all your ORCA options.

Customers who are new to ORCA often ask us how it works or how it would benefit them. Frequent riders who used PugetPass before might not see much of a day-to-day difference, though there are some great online features that PugetPass didn't offer. You can register your ORCA card online so that your value is protected in case of loss or theft, and you can set up an auto-reload feature so you'll never run out of E-purse or forget to buy next month's pass.

The best benefit of switching to ORCA now is for customers who pay their fare with cash. Transfer policies changed in January with most agencies no longer issuing or accepting paper transfers for cash-paying customers. Now, ORCA is your transfer – when you pay by ORCA card you always get a 2-hour transfer (good from the time of your first card tap).

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