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. The new system will gradually be coming online as stations and vehicles are updated across the region.

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
and options to buy ORCA
cards and add value.

Mouse arrow icon

Feature a new and 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 Systems Integrator contract has been awarded to INIT. They will work with the regional team to design and deliver the next generation backend system and most of the equipment 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.
  • The process is underway to find a vendor to develop and maintain the next generation Retail Network for distribution of ORCA cards.


  • The regional team, technical consultants and contracted vendors will begin the design phase of the program in late 2018.
  • The program 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 450,000 weekday boardings.
  • Over a million cards in circulation.
  • 2,000 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.
  • The ORCA LIFT program is making transportation more affordable for thousands of low-income households around the Puget Sound.