Starting May 16, hundreds of thousands of ORCA transit customers across the Puget Sound region will have access to a new website, smartphone app, and real-time value loading for their ORCA cards.
Customers will also begin to see new card readers and vending machines as technology is updated and rolled out at transit locations throughout the region. King County Metro says this will mark the start of ongoing improvements to the ORCA system over the next several years.
Current ORCA users do not need to get a new card at this time but are encouraged to register their cards on the new website, myORCA.com, to add value to their existing cards.
Customers can still add cash to their cards at vending machines, customer service locations and participating retailers.
“We’re beginning to deliver the first features of the new ORCA system and appreciate the patience of riders as we pivot between vendors and launch improvements over the next few years,” said ORCA Joint Board Chair and King County Metro Mobility Director, Christina O’Claire. “Riders can keep using their existing ORCA cards, but also will be able to access updated features that will serve customers better.”
During the following weeks, transit customers are being warned that they may experience disruptions while ORCA equipment or account access upgrades are in process. The overall effort spans more than 6,000 pieces of equipment and involves transferring more than 5 million ORCA customer accounts to the new system, according to King County Metro.
On May 16, new ORCA features will be launched that include:
-New ORCA website. myORCA.com will feature real-time card loading, mobile phone accessibility, more payment options and the ability to manage multiple cards.
– Smartphone app. Customers can manage their ORCA account from any location 24/7 and with the same functionality available on the new website. The app will be available on Apple’s app store and the Google Play store.
-Business account website. myORCA.com will replace www.orcacard.biz as the place where employers manage their ORCA programs.
ORCA users who want to access the new features can start by creating a new account and registering their existing cards online at myORCA.com or with the myORCA smartphone app.
“When fully launched, the new ORCA system and features will make riding transit easier and more accessible and will help riders save money as they access the ever-expanding transit network in the Puget Sound region,” O’Claire said.
King County Metro says single-ride and pass prices remain the same. Reduced fare programs will also still be available.
Later in 2022 and 2023, ORCA will be adding more stores to its retail network and introducing a smartphone tap-to-pay option. After these features are delivered, the ORCA agencies say they will engage with customers to identify improvements and new features to add in the coming years.