Thousands of students around the city are getting no-cost transit passes again this year through the ORCA Opportunity program. From the city’s announcement, here’s the information, including how eligible students can get a card:
Today, Mayor Jenny A. Durkan celebrated the 4th school year of ORCA Opportunity Program – Seattle’s commitment to free transit for public high school and middle school students. Through the program, the City of Seattle provides 12-month, fully-subsidized ORCA cards to all Seattle Public high school students, income-eligible middle school students, and Seattle Promise Scholars.
The card is valid through August 31, 2022 and provides no-cost, unlimited transit on King County Metro, King County Water Taxi, Seattle Streetcar, Sound Transit, Community Transit, Pierce Transit, Kitsap Transit, Everett Transit, and Seattle Center Monorail.
More than 80 percent of Seattle voters passed Proposition 1 last November, which has funded more frequent, reliable, accessible bus service in Seattle and the ORCA Opportunity Program. Through a 0.15% sales tax (the equivalent of 15 cents on a $100 purchase), Seattle residents have opened the doors to transit for more residents in the community.
In the 2020-2021 school year, the City of Seattle provided ORCA cards to over 15,000 middle and high School students. From September 1, 2020 to July 31, 2021, students collectively took 512,151 total trips, which equates to a savings for families of over $1.4 million. The ORCA cards allowed students to travel throughout the region, including on King County Metro Bus, Sound Transit Light Rail & Commuter Rail, Seattle Streetcar, Via To Transit, Community Transit, Everett Transit, Kitsap Transit Bus & Ferry, and Pierce Transit. The City looks forward to expanding the number of students and trips taken by also providing cards to Seattle Promise Scholars this year.
This year, applications for income-eligible middle school students are integrated into the City’s new Affordability Portal. Families now complete an application to receive an ORCA card for their middle school student on the Affordability Portal. The Portal can then refer and connect families with other income-based programs the City offers.
High school students and Seattle Promise Scholars do not need to apply for a card. High school students can pick up an ORCA card at their school. Schools will provide information about when and where students can collect their card. All high school students are required to complete a Conditions of Use form to receive a card. Seattle Promise Scholars will learn more information about how to get their cards during Summer Bridge on September 14, 15, and 20.