How to ride
Tap your card when you board
As you board the bus, tap your ORCA card on the card reader inside.
Tap your card before boarding
Before boarding Link light rail, RapidRide, the Sounder commuter train, Seattle Center Monorail and the Seattle Streetcar, tap your ORCA card on a yellow card reader outside/on the platform. When you exit Link and Sounder, re-tap your ORCA card to complete the trip.
Scan your card
When boarding the Water Taxi, Metro Flex and Trailhead Direct, the loading agent or cashier will scan your card.
You can transfer between participating agencies (Metro, Everett Transit, Sound Transit, Seattle Center Monorail and Seattle Streetcar) free of charge—just be sure to tap your ORCA card each time. If you need to travel on another transit agency, you will need to load your ORCA card with E-purse funds. Once you’ve loaded the card, you can tap it on any transit agency and transfer to other systems within two hours.
No, there is no visible difference between a regular ORCA LIFT card and an ORCA LIFT card loaded with a subsidized annual pass.
You will need to get a new ORCA LIFT card when you enroll in the subsidized annual pass. Your current cards will be blocked within 7 days.
- Any unused funds will be transferred to your new ORCA LIFT card and you can use those funds as E-purse to ride on other transit agencies.
- If your current ORCA LIFT card has a PugetPass, that card will be blocked at the start of the next month.
All RRFP cardholders that choose to enroll in the subsidized annual pass program will also need to get a new ORCA LIFT card, valid for 2+ years.
If your RRFP card is valid for at least another 12 months, you can choose one of two options:
- Have the subsidized annual pass added onto your ORCA LIFT card and keep your RRFP card as is.
- Request to add the subsidized annual pass onto a new RRFP card and keep your ORCA LIFT card as a regular ORCA LIFT card (without a subsidized annual pass).
Contact DSHS at 877-501-2233 to see if you are eligible to enroll in the state benefit programs.
Eligibility for the six state benefit programs requires income at or below 80% of the federal poverty line, plus more requirements. Requirements are unique to each program and may include factors such as available funds.
No. Eligibility is currently tied to enrollment in one of the six state benefit programs. Metro will use program evaluation data, available in mid-2024, to determine program changes, including future expansions. Check back here for updates.
Nothing will change until you need to re-enroll after 12 months. An ORCA LIFT card can continue to be used to ride at a reduced fare until the date printed in red on the back of the card, regardless if your income changes. The subsidized annual pass will be valid for up to 12 months, regardless of whether your enrollment status in one of the benefit programs changes.
You are eligible to renew your subsidized annual pass if your current subsidized annual pass will expire within one month and you are still enrolled in one of the six qualifying state benefit programs. You can apply to renew your subsidized annual pass by any of the options listed above in the “How to apply” section. If you renew your subsidized annual pass, you will get another annual pass added onto your same card.
If you no longer qualify for the subsidized annual pass, you can still use your ORCA LIFT card to ride transit at a reduced fare, until the date written on the back of your ORCA LIFT card. You can load value online at myORCA.com, in person at an ORCA customer service office, at a participating retailer or at a ticket vending machine. You can also load value or find out more information on how to load value onto your card by calling Metro’s Call Center at 206-553-3000.
To replace an ORCA LIFT or RRFP card that was loaded with the subsidized annual pass, customers should contact Metro’s reduced fare phone number at 206-477-4200. The remainder of the subsidized annual pass will transfer onto their replacement ORCA LIFT or RRFP card.
Customers can choose to have their replacement card mailed to them or can arrange to pick up their replacement card once it's ready at the King Street Center Metro Pass Sales Office. Replacement cards will be offered at no cost to customers.
About the program
In response to a 2019-2020 budget request by King County Council, Metro worked to establish a new income-based fare program for those who cannot afford the other reduced fare options. To create an equitable implementation plan, Metro collaborated with a stakeholder advisory group, prioritizing the mobility needs of priority populations, including people of color, low-income residents, limited or non-English speaking communities, and immigrants and refugees. Metro’s rigorous program evaluation, set to complete in 2024, will guide future program adjustments.