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ORCA Business Account FAQs

What is an ORCA Business Account?

A Business Account is established with a written agreement between a business and a transportation agency (or agencies) for purchasing ORCA cards for employees, students, and/or human services clients.

How does the ORCA card work?

Unlike magnetic strip cards, such as credit cards, the ORCA Card uses smart card technology to automatically account for different fares and transfers. The fare for any ride is automatically confirmed or deducted when the rider taps their card to the ORCA logo on the card reader on a bus or at the readers at train stations or ferry terminals.

Please see Business Account ORCA card terms of use to ensure that employees follow the "tap-on, tap-off" rules when using an ORCA card.

What ORCA business products can my company purchase for employees?

ORCA business products are grouped into two major programs: Business Choice, similar to the former monthly retail Puget Passes or commuter vouchers, or Business Passport, an annual program similar to the former FlexPass program.

ORCA Business Accounts are easy to manage since the cards can be distributed just once, then reloaded each month via the website.

What other business options are available?

As part of the ORCA Business Choice program, two cash options are available. (Business Choice is included with Passport agreements, so the Business Choice products can be added to a Passport card.)

  • E-purse stands for electronic purse and provides businesses with another means to store value on an ORCA card. The employee can use the value stored in the E-purse to pay for travel on a per-trip basis or to apply to the purchase of a monthly pass. Employees can add personal funds to the E-purse on their company-provided ORCA card
  • E-voucher stands for electronic voucher. E-vouchers allow a business to provide a transportation subsidy to as many employees as it chooses and receive credit back on any e-vouchers that are not used after 30 days. The employee/cardholder can decide how to ‘spend’ the subsidy – by applying the value and buying a monthly pass or by converting the subsidy to an E-purse and spending it as needed. E-vouchers are available only through a business account.

Can our business provide a vanpool subsidy using ORCA?

Yes, although at roll-out of the new system, a vanpool subsidy may continue to be handled outside the ORCA system. In the case of the ORCA Business Passport, the vanpool subsidy would be handled through the serial number of the ORCA Card. With ORCA Business Choice, vanpool specific passes can be purchased for Metro vanpools.

How does our company offer Washington State Ferries passage for employees?

A Washington State Ferries’ monthly pass may be added to any ORCA Business Account card, either as a standalone product or coupled with another transportation product (i.e., an employee can add it to an employer-subsidized Passport card program).

In those cases where employers add value to the employee's ORCA card as an E-purse or E-voucher, employees can use this medium to purchase ferry travel on a per-trip basis.

Note: Washington State Ferries sells monthly, ferry only, passenger passes. They do not sell car and driver ferry passes.

What about employee privacy?

No personal information will be stored on an employee’s Business ORCA Card. However, an employee may elect to register his or her card so that a lost or stolen card can be more easily replaced. The agencies have planned for multiple layers of system security, which include data encryption for all communications systems, the use of Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) for access to customer data, and controlled employee access to all data. Additionally, Washington State laws protect a customer’s personal and ‘travel use data’ from public disclosure.

With ORCA custom Business Passport (for companies larger than 500 employees), can companies choose which transit agencies are included and how much vanpool subsidy is allowed?

All transit agencies, except ferry, are automatically included. With custom Passport, customers may choose whether or not to offer Home Free Guarantee, vanpool and/or vanshare and at what subsidy level.

Will there be survey requirements for ORCA Business Passport?

Not for Area Passport customers. For custom Passport programs, surveys may be required. Once sufficient ORCA data has been acquired (after at least a year), we do not expect to collect transit survey data. Companies affected by the CTR law will still need to survey to meet their CTR requirements.

Do E-purse and E-voucher have minimums?

Yes, a $5 minimum and $300 maximum. Unused E-vouchers are credited back to the company after 30 days. E-purse amounts do not expire but once maximum load is reached, no more funds can be added.

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Contact us

For assistance with pass programs, call Employer Services at 206-477-3700.