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Orca Card?

Anchorage, Alaska
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22 posts
11 reviews
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Orca Card?

We are a family of 3 hoping to use transit (and walking) for most of our 5 day visit to Seattle. Should we buy an Orca card? Is there any savings in buying a card, or is it just a convenience? It would be nice to not have to worry about change. Do we need to buy 3 cards or can we share one? And, if we take the light rail to one station, and then transfer to a bus right away, are we charged twice? Or is there a transfer time line? Thank you!

Seattle, Washington
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54 posts
4 reviews
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1. Re: Orca Card?

The main savings from the Orca Card is in being able to transfer between Metro Transit and Sound Transit (Link light rail, Sounder, and ST Express buses). An Orca Card is $5, so three transfers between the systems more than pays for it. Other than that, it is mostly a convenience factor, not having to worry about having enough dollars and quarters on you. See:

https:/…

When are you visiting? Between April through September 2014, there is a Regional Day Pass pilot program. For $9/day it covers any fare up to $4 on Community Transit, Everett Transit, King County Metro Transit, Kitsap Transit (bus, Bremerton Foot Ferry), Pierce Transit, Sound Transit (bus, Link, Sounder), Seattle Streetcar and King County Water Taxi. If more than $4, you just pay the extra in cash. It goes on the Orca Card, so that'll cost $5. You could get the Orca cards for the five days ($15) and then get the Regional Day Pass for any day you plan to intensively use transit.

Ask your hotel if they are participating in the Visitor Day Pass pilot project or call 888-988-6722. See:

https:/…

Seattle, Washington
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698 posts
152 reviews
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2. Re: Orca Card?

You will each need a card. I see tourists run into this constantly. There is a way for the bus driver to re-set the machine so you get another fare charged instead of checking for a transfer, but it holds up lines and not all bus drivers know how to make it work in a hurry.

Just use cash, it will simplify things.

western WA
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8,997 posts
14 reviews
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3. Re: Orca Card?

I'd get an orca card. Less scrambling for coins, and the fare is less plus you get an automatic transfer.

I don't think the $9 a day plan makes sense for most people. You need a lot of bus travel to pass $9.

Seattle
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44,243 posts
14 reviews
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4. Re: Orca Card?

<take the light rail to one station, and then transfer to a bus right away, are we charged twice>

Light Rail and Metro Bus are not the same system. Yes you would have to pay separately for each in that situation. There are transfers that last about 2-hours if you are going bus to bus.

Personally for a short stay I wouldn't bother with loading an Orca card. I'd get a coin purse and put $1 bills and quarters in it and use as needed.

Seattle
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156 posts
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5. Re: Orca Card?

If you are traveling with a child age 5 or younger, that child can ride free on buses and the light rail.

Seattle, Washington
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904 posts
15 reviews
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6. Re: Orca Card?

<Light Rail and Metro Bus are not the same system. Yes you would have to pay separately for each in that situation.>

...unless you use an Orca card, in which case you get a free two-hour transfer. (But I still agree that an Orca card is unnecessary for a short stay).

western WA
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8,997 posts
14 reviews
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7. Re: Orca Card?

I would still get them, because not having the transfers pays for the card the first time you need it. Having to scramble cash for the fam adds a layer of stress because each ride has a slightly different cost. All the people behind you in line and the bus driver waiting impatiently while you fumble... no thanks. Orca card is seamless and easy. That's my take anyway. YMMV

Seattle
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1,178 posts
15 reviews
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8. Re: Orca Card?

Just something to keep in mind, if you have an Orca card, and are using it for more than 1 person, you have to tell the driver BEFORE you tap it. Tell the driver how many, he will then tell you when it is ok to tap. I learned this the hard way.

seattle
Destination Expert
for Seattle
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19,140 posts
108 reviews
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9. Re: Orca Card?

also in case your unfamiliar with our system many metro buses run thru the same bus tunnel as the light rail trains. Unless your going to Seatac using a bus going thru the 'tunnel' accomplishes the same thing and goes to more stations than Link.

San Jose, California
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42 posts
43 reviews
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10. Re: Orca Card?

Sorry, I'm a bit confused: you can use a single Orca card for more than one person? How does that work exactly? I thought it was one card per person...