Thursday, June 30, 2011

UW Husky Cards Get Smart

The region hit another ORCA milestone this week – converting University of Washington U-PASS users to ORCA. Actually, we’re starting small by first enabling ORCA for the staff and faculty U-PASS this summer.

Both students and staff have received new Husky Cards with smart card technology inside and an ORCA logo outside. But we’re not loading the cards with passes all at once.

There are about 60,000 potential U-PASS users on campus each day (staff, faculty and students), the single biggest ORCA account in the region. Last quarter, 64 percent of UW Seattle students purchased a U-PASS. Community Transit has a number of bus routes dedicated to serving campus, for good reason. Last month we had 60,000 boardings on our University routes.

Edmonds Community College began offering an ORCA-powered EdPass this spring. We don't have complete data since the quarter just ended, but it appears the simple, new way of purchasing and using a bus pass has been a success. More than 2,500 students purchased their first ORCA-powered EdPass this spring - and will save $10 if they load it with a bus pass again next quarter. The new EdPass bumped Community Transit’s percentage of boardings using ORCA cards to almost 65 percent last month, well above the first quarter regional average of 51 percent ORCA boardings.

A final bit of good news for ORCA aficionados – in case you hadn’t noticed, the ORCA website got some significant usability improvements earlier this month. Upgrades will continue to be made quarterly. And, of course, there are now many more places to reload your ORCA card throughout the region.

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