Transit in Puget Sound – How to ride least expensively

Friday, April 5, 2013

By Brian Doennebrink

The least-expensive option for all of these transit agencies is usually ORCA (One Regional Card for All): Everett, Community, Sound, Pierce, and Kitsap Transit, King County Metro and Water Taxi, and – for some instances – Washington State Ferries. One exception is if you’re always – and only – using Metro or Pierce Transit, you have two equivalent options, since both issue transfer slips to their in-system, cash-paying customers.

Example: you’re an adult, age 19-65, wanting to travel to from Shoreline to Ballard during the morning “peak” times (6 a.m.-9 a.m.). That route is only served by Metro. Two options:

Pay cash. You board a #358 at Aurora Village Transit Center, pay the $3.00 cash fare, and ask the driver for a transfer (which many hold out to cash customers). You retain the transfer slip, typically showing an expiration time of at least 2 hours after you received it. You alight from the bus at N. 105th, cross to the north side of that street, then board a #40 bus to Ballard, surrendering your transfer slip to the driver when alighting that bus at your final destination. However, say you’re continuing to the Ballard Locks via Metro’s #44, you’d keep your transfer slip to surrender to that bus driver.

Use ORCA. You board the #358, tapping your ORCA card on the ORCA card reader at the front of the bus. A single electronic beep and green light indicates that your fare has been paid and a 2-hour transfer window was given. Upon boarding the #40, you tap your ORCA card on the card reader of that bus. A single beep and green light indicates success. Tap again on the ORCA card reader at the front of the #44.

Total cost: $3.00 if all trips were started before the time on the slip (cash) or 2 hours from first tap (ORCA). The cash customer needs exact fare, but typically gets more than 2 hours on their transfer slip. The ORCA customer needs to sufficient fare on their card and virtually if not always gets 2 hours transfer credit.

For other public transportation articles, go to Features on our main web page and click Public Transit Choices.


Post a Comment

We encourage the thoughtful sharing of information and ideas. We expect comments to be civil and respectful, with no personal attacks or offensive language. We reserve the right to delete any comment.

  © Blogger template The Professional Template II by 2009

Back to TOP