ORCA Opportunity Youth Program

July 29, 2022

What's Happening Now?

Starting in September 2022, many transit agencies across the Puget Sound region will begin allowing all youth (18 or younger) to ride for free. This is thanks to the Move Ahead Washington statewide transportation funding package. Visit FreeYouthTransitPass.com for more details about how this will work.

On that date, all current ORCA Youth cards will turn into free youth transit passes regardless of the expiration date on the back. Youth 13-18 will be encouraged to continue to use an ORCA card or carry their student ID to ride transit, but youth who do not have an ORCA card will still be able to board transit for free. If your child will be 13 or older on September 1, 2022 please make sure to register their current ORCA card on MyORCA.com before June 30, 2023.

What is the ORCA Youth Program?

Under the ORCA Youth Program, Seattle Public School high school and middle school students receive free, unlimited ORCA cards.  

Beginning in fall 2023, all youth 18 and under will be able to ride transit for free regardless of student status. If you received an ORCA Youth card in the 2021-2022 school year, you can continue to use it as a free youth transit pass regardless of the expiration date printed on the back. More information to come! 

How to Get Your ORCA Youth Card

Seattle Public High  School Students

ORCA Youth Cards are distributed to high school students on the first day of school or at orientation. Students must also fill out a Conditions of Use Form to receive a card. If you did not receive an ORCA card during the 2021-2022 school year, please reach out to your school administrator.   

Please keep your ORCA Youth Card to use as your Free Youth Transit Pass next year. 

Seattle Public Middle School Students

All Seattle Public Middle School students, regardless of income, are now eligible for a fully-subsidized ORCA card for the 2021-2022 academic year. If you previously applied for a card and were denied, please reapply to receive your card. You can request a card HERE. Cards will be mailed to your home address during the summer. 

Please keep your ORCA Youth Card to use as your Free Youth Transit Pass next year. 

How to Use Your ORCA Youth Card

Your ORCA card can be used to take transit on services run by King County Metro, King County Water Taxi, Seattle Streetcar, Sound Transit, Community Transit, Pierce Transit, Kitsap Transit, Everett Transit,  Seattle Center Monorail, and Via to Transit. The ORCA cards may not be used on Washington State Ferries. 

Bus: Tap the ORCA card against the reader after getting on the bus. Pull the yellow cord before your stop to indicate to the driver you would like to exit.   

Light Rail & Streetcar: Tap the ORCA card on the platform before getting on the train and a second time after you leave the train.  

ORCA cards cannot be tapped multiple times on a single journey and each rider must tap their own ORCA card. 

Take a look at our informational flyer on using your card HERE or watch a short video from our friends at King County Metro. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if I lose or damage my card?
All card replacements will be handled by Seattle Public Schools Transportation Department. Students will need to contact the staff in the main office or attendance office to initiate the replacement process. Card replacement fees are $5.50 for the first card and $25 for each subsequent replacement for high school students. Middle school students do not need to pay a fee. 
My card says that it’ll expire soon. Why am I being asked to keep it? 
Washington State recently approved a new measure to allow all youth 18 and under to ride transit for free beginning in fall 2022. To ride, you will need a Youth Transit Pass, but if you already have an ORCA Youth Card, that will function as a Youth Transit Pass. Click HERE for more information from King County Metro.
I don’t have an ORCA Youth Card yet. Can I apply for one? 
If you do not currently have an ORCA Youth Card and are a Seattle Public School Middle School student, you can still apply for a card this summer by following the instructions above. Seattle Public High School students should apply for an ORCA Youth card at MyORCA.com, which will become a free youth transit pass beginning on 9/1/2022.

Contact Us

Email: ORCAOpportunity@seattle.gov
Text or call: (206) 256-6722