INIT and Sound Transit launch
next generation fare collection system

Account-based ticketing system
in metropolitan area of Seattle goes live

Water taxis are among the modes of transport to be used with ORCA.  (image: © Adbar / Wikipedia)

Chesapeake / Seattle / Karlsruhe, 25 May 2022

The Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority (Sound Transit) along with six regional transit partners has launched their new account-based electronic fare system from INIT in the metropolitan area of Seattle Washington/US. It replaces the legacy card-based ticketing system, but keeps the brand name ORCA and will greatly improve the customer experience by delivering real-time account management, facilitating new payment options, maintaining customer data security, and enabling the future use of mobile devices to pay fares.

We are excited to bring this new ORCA system, website and mobile app to the millions of ORCA users in the Puget Sound. The new system will provide greater efficiency and conveniencve with real-time loading and eventually a smartphone tap-to-pay option.

Brittany Esdaile

Director of Regional Fare Systems, Sound Transit

Back-office system MOBILEvario as core of the new ORCA system

“The crux of the ORCA project was the migration of the back-office system and more than 6,000 associated devices that support the new system. INIT achieved this process over a 48-hour period allowing the agency to continue service and revenue collection with minimum disruption,” explains Eric Linxweiler, INIT COO based in Seattle. “The launch of the new ORCA system marks a monumental step forward in how modern fare collection systems have evolved.”

The core of the new ORCA system is MOBILEvario, INIT’s back-office management and processing software. MOBILEvario will recognize and process revenue sharing for each of the seven partner agencies, manage accounts, and automate reconciliation.

Various certifications ensure safety and reliability

INIT fare validators are onboard local and regional buses, and located at stations for easy tap and go boarding. The system is PCI (Payment Card Industry) and EMV (Europay, MasterCard® and Visa®) certified for the acceptance of contactless cards and virtual cards stored in a mobile app as well as “Visa Ready for Transit” certified. The validators bear the ITxPT (Information Technology for Public Transport) label ensuring they are built with an open architecture design and facilitate interoperability between IT systems. 

Use of state-of-the art Ticketing Vending Machines

Customers will also utilize INIT’s state-of-the-art Ticket Vending Machines (TVM) at stations throughout the region. The new TVMs will be transitioned into service over time as the legacy TVMs are phased out which will help in making the changeover easier for ORCA customers during the adoption period. 

ORCA customers will be able to use their current ORCA cards as well on the new, open architecture fare system to make their experience easy and seamless. ORCA next generation spans multiple modes of transportation, including fixed-route buses, light rail, commuter rail, streetcars, ferries, and water taxis. Sound Transit has led the ORCA system on behalf of six stakeholder agencies: Community Transit, Everett Transit, King County Metro, Kitsap Transit, Pierce Transit, and Washington State Ferries.

Andrea Mohr-Braun

Head of Department Corporate Marketing
INIT worldwide
Phone: +49 721 6100 113
Fax: +49 721 6100 399