(Update: These tips are only for all students taking Metro. If you take transit to Seattle Public Schools, we added a more specific blog post, “Tips for Seattle Public School students on using Metro to get to school.”)

Students throughout King County are returning to school. For students using Metro as their “school bus,” we have five helpful tips to get ready.

1. Get your ORCA card

  • All high school students attending Seattle Public Schools (SPS) are eligible for an ORCA card. Students who are registered prior to the start of the new school year will automatically be issued an ORCA card. The card can be picked up at the school site on orientation day or the first day of school.
  • For middle school students attending SPS, eligibility for an ORCA cards is dependent upon the district’s transportation service standards. If you are unsure of eligibility, contact TransORCA@seattleschools.org.
  • In Bellevue, Highline, Lake Washington, and Renton School Districts, check with your school’s transportation department to see if you are eligible for an ORCA card.
  • If your student rides the bus to get to class—or anywhere—and doesn’t receive an ORCA card through their school, make sure they have an ORCA Youth Card, which lets them ride at a reduced fare

2. Plan your trip in advance.

Find out what route you need to ride and visit Metro’s website for help. Got questions? Call Metro customer service at 206-553-3000 on weekdays, 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. If you need an interpreter, press 1.

3. Masks are still required on transit.

The federal mandate for masks on public transit was extended through January 18, 2022. All Metro coaches have mask dispensers if you need one. Your mask should fit above your nose, below your chin, and snugly against your face. Your safety is our top priority. Metro buses are disinfected daily, and we have upgraded air filters on all buses.

4. Allow for extra travel time.

Especially at the beginning of the school year, start your trip a little early to ensure you get to school on time. Students are returning to school and some people are returning to work, so be patient if your bus is behind schedule as you are going to or leaving school.

5. Stay safe and alert at all times.

King County Metro wants you to stay safe. Look up when walking and look out for others. Look and listen whenever you cross the street and use the crosswalk. Only cross the street AFTER the bus leaves, and never chase after the bus. When fall turns to winter and there’s less natural light, wave something bright, like your phone or a flashlight to make yourself more visible at a bus stop.  And remember, our operators are there to help you if have questions when riding the bus.

We look forward to seeing and serving all students using Metro to get to school this fall!