(Note: These tips are only for Seattle Public Schools students taking Metro. If you take transit to another school district, check out our earlier “Welcome back to school! Some tips on using Metro to get to class” blog post.)

A growing number of Seattle Public School (SPS) students are returning to the classroom this year using Metro as their “school bus.” For those students and their families, here are five helpful tips to assist you in getting to school.

1. Get your ORCA card

  • All high school students attending Seattle Public Schools are eligible for an ORCA card. If you haven’t already received your card, please email TransORCA@seattleschools.org to get one.
  • For middle school students, eligibility for an ORCA cards is dependent upon the district’s transportation service standards. If you are unsure of eligibility, contact TransORCA@seattleschools.org.
  • If your student rides the bus to get to class—or anywhere—and isn’t eligible to receive an SPS-provided ORCA card, visit Metro’s ORCA Youth Card webpage to sign up.

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. Metro’s Trip Planner is also available to help you find travel options

A reminder to Center School students and families: If you ride the Seattle Monorail, you can use your ORCA card to ride the Monorail to and from school. For those who want to ride the bus, routes 3 and 4 serve the Seattle Center on the east side and Routes 1, 2, and 13 serve the Seattle Center on the west side (close to Climate Pledge Arena.) For Monorail information, please visit the Monorail webpage.

Metro’s customer service office, as well as our Trip Planner, can help you find all your travel options

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. Metro buses are disinfected daily, and we have upgraded air filters on all buses

4. Allow for extra travel time.

As you settle into the school year, be aware that some people are returning to work, so it’s a good idea to start your trip a little early to ensure you get to school on time. Also, 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, transit operators are there to help you if have questions when riding.

Metro looks forward to seeing and serving all students using transit to get to school this fall!