Seattle middle school students now eligible for free ORCA card

Nov 7, 2021, 11:10 AM | Updated: Nov 8, 2021, 8:10 am
King County Metro, ORCA card...
A King County Metro bus at the Northgate Transit Center. (Photo courtesy of King County Metro/Twitter)
(Photo courtesy of King County Metro/Twitter)

Middle school students in the Seattle Public Schools district can now get a free, unlimited ORCA card for transit rides on King County Metro and other local transit options.

This expansion of the ORCA Opportunity program — which already provides an ORCA card to thousands of high school students in the city and to Seattle Promise scholars — was announced this week as part of Mayor Jenny Durkan’s climate action executive order.

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Seattle Public Schools and the City of Seattle are partnering to provide an additional 8,000 ORCA cards for middle school students that will be valid through Aug. 31, 2022, and will work 24 hours a day, seven days a week. These ORCA cards provide no-cost, unlimited rides on King County Metro, King County Water Taxi, Seattle Streetcar, Sound Transit, Community Transit, Pierce Transit, Kitsap Transit, Everett Transit, and Seattle Center Monorail.

ORCA Opportunity will now be available to 24,000 students, including the 8,000 additional middle school students, 15,000 high school students, and more than 1,000 Seattle Promise students. The program is intended to encourage students to use public transit to access schools and services, and to help reduce traffic congestion near schools.

“We are building a transit culture in our region by giving our youth a passport to our City. Giving the kids of Seattle a way to and from school and activities is only the beginning. ORCA Opportunity opens doors to using transit to access sporting events, colleges, arts and culture around Seattle,” Durkan said. “With the opening and expansion of additional clean, rapid transit through the light rail, we continue to take car trips off the road by making transit free for our youth and low income communities.”

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Under the mayor’s executive order, Durkan pledges to evaluate expansion of free transit to all young people under age 18, establish the city’s first urban pedestrian zone, and take actions to increase the use of zero-emissions vehicles.

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Seattle middle school students now eligible for free ORCA card