To make it easier to learn about transit and apply for a reduced fare, Metro is now offering Virtual Neighborhood Pop-up events and has launched an online Reduced Fare Portal as of Feb. 16. Customers with lower incomes, seniors, and people with disabilities can use these tools to get their transit questions answered and to apply for an ORCA Regional Reduced Fare Permit (RRFP) card or an ORCA Lift card. For a limited time, ORCA Youth card applications can also be submitted through the portal.

What is an ORCA card?
Riders can use an ORCA card instead of cash to pay their fares  on buses and trains in the Puget Sound region. After you load your E-purse (electronic purse) value or monthly pass, your ORCA card works like a debit card. Simply tap the card for a contactless way to pay your fare. It includes a two-hour transfer on most Puget Sound area transit. Some customers have their transit passes paid for by their work or school, while others qualify for reduced fares due to their age, disability, or income level. Reduced fare cards could cut your fare by 45% to 60%.

Applying for a reduced fare card (RRFP, ORCA Lift, and ORCA youth cards) requires hard copies of sensitive paperwork like birth certificates to verify age and/or medical documentation to verify disability status. In the past, most applications have needed to be filed in person or by mail. The new online portal is secure and easy to use, and allows applicants the ability to upload these sensitive documents, which may be easier than applying in person or by postal mail. Once a completed application has been received either online or by mail, customers can expect to receive their card within seven to 10 business days. The option to visit our King County Metro Pass Sales Office remains in place, too.

Attend a Virtual Neighborhood Pop-Up

If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of owning an ORCA card and navigating transit throughout the region, our Neighborhood Pop-Ups are going virtual! If you need help using the Reduced Fare Portal, you can get help with that, too.

Neighborhood Pop-Ups are typically held in-person in communities across the county, but have been suspended since March 2020 due to COVID-19. The new virtual option will similarly provide assistance in applying for an ORCA card (including reduced fare cards and passes), and the ability to learn about all things ORCA, speak directly to a Metro team member, provide feedback, and learn more about Metro’s mobility services.

Starting now, individuals can sign up to attend a Virtual Neighborhood Pop-Up and access the same resources as the in-person events (thanks, in part, to the new Reduced Fare Portal) from the comfort and safety of their own homes. Organizations can book their own Virtual Neighborhood Pop-Ups on the Neighborhood Pop-Up webpage as well.

“We know that 120,000 residents are continuing to depend on transit during the pandemic and that number will increase as our region rebuilds,” said King County Metro Mobility Division Director Christina O’Claire. “We also know that some of the areas with highest ridership have some of the lowest ORCA card use. Using an ORCA card is the safest, fastest way to pay your Metro fare and often the most cost effective, too. We hope that the new Reduced Fare Portal and Virtual Neighborhood Pop-Ups will remove barriers and help get ORCA cards into as many hands as possible.”

Graphic outlines different fare types and links to website for more info