Next Generation ORCA Project

Public transit agencies throughout Central Puget Sound are building the next generation of ORCA. The new ORCA will greatly improve the customer experience, offer new payment options, maintain customer data security, and be flexible enough to adapt to changing technologies.

Next generation ORCA project

ORCA customers and transit riders were asked to comment on the current ORCA system. Over 2,600 people responded. Customers confirmed ORCA has made traveling throughout the region easier. The feedback we received from the survey led us to keep the things customers like and ensure the next generation ORCA will:

Dollar sign icon

Instantly load value and
products to your ORCA account.

Location icon

Offer more retail locations
to buy ORCA cards and
add value.

Mouse arrow icon

Feature an improved
website that makes it
easier to manage
your account.

Phone icon

Offer a mobile app to
manage your account
and  pay your fare
without a card.


  • The new ORCA will come online in phases, beginning in 2021.
  • Ensuring a smooth transition requires significant coordination between the seven Puget Sound transit agencies that make up the ORCA network—Community Transit, Everett Transit, King County Metro, Kitsap Transit, Pierce Transit, Sound Transit and Washington State Ferries.
  • All seven agencies must transition to the new system while continuing to offer seamless travel throughout the region.
  • This project is a bit like rebuilding a house from the foundation up—while people are still living in it.


  • The planning phase is finished and system specifications have been developed.
  • The process is underway to find a vendor to design and deliver the backend system and most of the devices and software.
  • Detailed specifications for the base of the system are available in the Scope of Work (pdf) for customers wanting more in-depth information.
  • Vendors can check the Sound Transit eBid site for future RFPs.


  • A competitive procurement will lead to a main vendor who will build the next generation ORCA.
  • We will continue to procure other pieces of the system and identify new retail partners.
  • Program phases include design, development, testing, installation and operations.


  • The ORCA consortium of seven regional transit providers is governed by a Joint Board with representatives from each of the seven agencies.
  • Sound Transit is the regional contracting and procurement agency for this system.


Since 2009, ORCA has created seamless fare payment so people can travel easily on the region’s buses, trains, streetcars and ferries. To-date, ORCA has:

  • Over 400,000 weekday boardings.
  • Over a million cards in circulation.
  • 1,800 accounts serving employers, schools and other institutions.
  • Over 125 retail store locations and 100 ticket vending machines.
  • Improved regional mobility for customers.
  • One of the highest service attribute ratings across the region.