Get ready for an improved ORCA experience coming in 2022
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Get ready for an improved ORCA experience coming in 2022

Oct 8, 2021

With new light rail vehicles coming online and three new stations now open north of Seattle, there’s a lot to be excited about if you’re a transit rider.

And more progress is on the way! 

Next year, paying for transit rides in the Puget Sound region will be faster and easier with the new myORCA mobile app and website.

If you’re a regular rider, you hopefully know all about the benefits of using an ORCA card, along with the safety benefits of paying contact-free. Soon, using ORCA will get even better.

In May, the Sound Transit Rider Experience and Operations Committee heard all about the improvements coming to ORCA.

The new ORCA system will come online in phases, beginning in early 2022.

More enhancements and features, such as the ability to tap to pay with your phone, will come later in 2022.

The improved ORCA experience will:

  • Offer a mobile app to manage your account and pay your fare
  • Instantly load value and products to your ORCA account
  • Offer more retail locations throughout the region to buy ORCA cards and add value
  • Feature an improved website that makes it easier to manage your account

More about ORCA 

Launched in 2009, ORCA  (One Regional Card for All)  united seven agencies —Community Transit, Everett Transit, King County Metro, Kitsap Transit, Pierce Transit, Sound Transit and Washington State Ferries – with one common payment system.

ORCA made transferring between services easier, and enabled online payments and account management.

It also expanded the availability of affordable public transit through reduced fare and employer benefit programs.

Why make changes now?

Payment technology has advanced, and we are using this new technology to improve our ORCA transit payment network.

Many parts of the ORCA system are aging and in need of replacement. This includes: card readers, data systems, reporting platforms, ticket vending machines and more.  

The project to upgrade ORCA was mapped out through customer feedback. The goal is to keep the things you like and fix the things you don’t, and make the changes with minimal disruption to riders.

Some things aren’t changing. Options like free free Youth cards, Regional Reduced Fare Permits and ORCA LIFT will be remain a part of ORCA.

There will still be retail locations for purchasing ORCA cards and loading value. Although the improved ORCA experience will deliver lots of new technology, it also offers more convenience to customers who prefer doing their ORCA business in person with cash, and we expect even more locations to join the ORCA retail network over time.

As good as ORCA has been for our community, it can be even better. The new ORCA experience will vastly improve how you get around the Puget Sound.