With King County's Metro Transit eliminating its downtown Free Ride Area in 2012, the city hasn't been touted for being very transit-friendly. That may change with a new regional transit pass that will allow riders to travel by bus, train, streetcar or water taxi -- all day for one price.
Puget Sound transit agencies have rolled out the Visitor Day Pass, available for the next six months in a pilot program. The regional day pass is $9 and provides unlimited trips when the fare is $4 or less. One or more days' worth of passes can be loaded onto a reusable ORCA smart card. People who do not have an ORCA card may buy a card for a one-time $5 fee. That's the one glitch, as the pass only resides on an ORCA card, so if you don't already have an ORCA card your first day pass is actually $14. Also, the day pass cannot be used on the Seattle Monorail or Washington State Ferries. The day pass starts with first use and expires at 3AM -- it's currently only available as an adult pass, not for children or seniors.
Six-Month Pilot Program
The Visitor Day Pass is the first new regional pass produce since ORCA was launched in 2010. It will be available through September 30, 2014. At that time, usage data will be evaluated to determine if the day pass will continue. The ORCA partnership includes Community Transit, Everett Transit, Kitsap Transit, King County Metro Transit, Pierce Transit and Sound Transit as well as Washington State Ferries.
ORCA cards and transit value may be purchased at transit agency customer service centers, ticket vending machines at Sounder train and Link light rail stations, and at several transit centers in King County. ORCA is also available at retailers throughout King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish counties. They include most QFC and Safeway stores, Saar's Market Place, downtown Seattle Bartell's, Kingston IGA, Vashon Thriftway and Roger's Market in Mountlake Terrace. ORCA cards and products may also be purchased online at orcacard.com.